The quote from the following text that appears on WhatReallyHappened is underlined.In "Alleged Pentagon Strike Witnesses Introduction" said:There are several of these links that bring up errors, they no longer exist on the web. It would be useful if anyone could find them archived somewhere and if a thread has not been created for that witness, to create one in the same style.
Steve Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday Oct 2, 2001, 6:08:49
1st Hand Account =yes
2nd Hand Account
The events of Sept. 11 have helped me put my life in perspective
I witnessed the jet hit the Pentagon on September 11.
From my office on the 19th floor of the USA TODAY building in Arlington, Va., I have a view of Arlington Cemetery, Crystal City, the Pentagon, National Airport and the Potomac River.
Tuesday morning, September 11, started out to be like any other day. The air was crisp and the sky was clear. I arrived at my office at about 6:45 a.m. I noted US Air and Delta flights taking off from Reagan National Airport. I figured the weather must be clear up the coast as the shuttle flights were taking off on time.
I made it through my morning regimen of reading five newspapers and scanning several websites. I was feeling pretty good about the fact that I had accomplished so much before the workday actually started.
I turned my attention to e-mail and then checked the newswires to see what went on in the world overnight. At about 8:50 a.m. a bulletin came across the wire stating a plane had crashed in to the World Trade Center. I turned on the television in my office and about 10 of us watched the black smoke rising above the colossal structure. The first reports said a small plane hit the tower. We all thought it must have been the result of a pilot having a heart attack.
The mood turned dark. As we watched the story it appeared that people were jumping out of windows in the burning building. We were collectively in a state of shock when we watched as a second plane slammed into the other tower of the World Trade Center.
At that moment we all knew what had happened. Terrorists had struck hard in New York. We all felt vulnerable in our own "Twin Towers" that overlook Washington, D.C. We have had several bomb threats over the years, but we never dreamed that something like this would happen.
Shortly after watching the second tragedy, I heard jet engines pass our building, which, being so close to the airport is very common. But I thought the airport was closed. I figured it was a plane coming in for landing. A few moments later, as I was looking down at my desk, the plane caught my eye.
It didn't register at first. I thought to myself that I couldn't believe the pilot was flying so low. Then it dawned on me what was about to happen. I watched in horror as the plane flew at treetop level, banked slightly to the left, drug it's wing along the ground and slammed into the west wall of the Pentagon exploding into a giant orange fireball. Then black smoke. Then white smoke.
We didn't know what further plans the terrorists had. Were there more planes in the air? Were they headed toward us? We erred on the side of caution and told people they could leave. Nearly everyone did, including me. We went into emergency plan mode. The company staff tried to regroup in front of the Iwo Jima memorial. But as soon as we got there MPs from Ft. Myer and Arlington Police came through screaming for us to clear the area because another plane was headed that way. We couldn't get back into the building, so we sent people home to work from there. Many of our intrepid journalists stayed in the building. A good number of them have covered wars in the past and have been deployed in combat zones. They don't scare easily. But for me, all I could think about was my wife and our daughter.
The scene around the office was nothing short of pandemonium. Streets were absolutely jammed with cars and people. Many acting crazy driving on the sidewalks and threatening people who were in their way. To make matters worse, a local radio station reported that a plane had hit the USA TODAY building. I called the station and told them they were incorrect. They didn't believe me and kept on reporting it. The station even sent the story up to the radio network, which in turn reported it nationwide. Reporters in California and elsewhere were calling me to confirm the number of dead at USA TODAY.
Outbound cells were jammed, but somehow my wife, an elementary school music teacher, called me on my cell phone and I told her I was OK and that I was going to try and get home. A few minutes after that, her school's principal distributed a note to the teachers that summed up what had happened and told teachers not to discuss it, not to turn on a TV or fire up an internet connection. The note also stated that a plane had hit the USA TODAY building. Fortunately, my wife knew better. Other than that, the school had set up a system of greeters at the main doors to assist parents in picking up their children. Many parents did just that and it was all dealt with in a very orderly fashion. There was fear that some of the kids may have had parents who work at the Pentagon. While many do work at the Pentagon, it turned out none were harmed in the attack.
It took me about 90 minutes to get my car out of the immediate vicinity of my office. I was able to take back roads to my home in Reston, where I was able to work from home for the rest of the day.
While monitoring coverage of the attack I learned American airlines Flight #77 was the plane that slammed into the Pentagon. I have taken that flight on numerous occasions on trips to Los Angeles. That hit me very close to home. I didn't sleep at all that night. I stayed up watching news reports and reading newswires. I slept about two hours each night for the next several nights.
At this point, our lives have returned as close to normal as they will get. It's difficult for me to sit at my desk and look at the gaping hole in the Pentagon, as I relive the tragedy over and over in my head each time I see the building.
But I escape into our little family. Our daughter is three years old and full of energy. We play in the yard, go to the park, paint, color, attend Mass and do all the things parents and children are supposed to do. It gives me comfort to know she is blissfully ignorant of the events that have transpired on September 11. It worries me that it won't always be this way. But I'm sure that's a fear all parents face to one degree or another.
Every day when I come to my office and look out my window I see the charred, gaping hole in the Pentagon and relive the tragedy over and over in my head. It's an image that will be burned into my memory for the rest or my life. Growing up in the Washington, D.C., area I think of all the people I have known who worked in the Pentagon, and the number of times I have been in the building. (And I think of the number of times I have been in the World Trade Center over the years.)
Fortunately, I didn't know anyone killed or missing in any of the attacks. But I know many of you do. My heart and prayers go out to all of you and to everyone everywhere who has been touched by this terrible tragedy. I pray that our leaders at all levels act judiciously and respond effectively.
Even in times of terrible tragedy there is opportunity. Perhaps the coalition that we are building will be able to isolate terrorists and bring them to answer for their actions...or at least remove their ability to carry out another major attack. It has already helped us to come together as one nation. Perhaps this will help us come together as one world.
All of this has given me a great appreciation for the many blessings that have been bestowed on me in my lifetime...as well as a better understanding of what I take for granted. It has helped me recognize my prejudices and given me a clearer understanding of family, love, commitment, dedication, faith and courage.
I think we have all seen how these events have brought out the best in us as a people. Perhaps we can focus on that as we move forward.
If you've read this entire missive, thank you. It's the first time I've written it all down and it has been quite cathartic for me.
-- Steve Anderson ('85), Director of Communications, USA TODAY