'The Denver Post,'
11 September 2001 Tuesday 2D Edition, page A-2,
"U.S. capital faces terror on own turf,"
by Bill McAllister, Denver Post Washington Bureau.
WASHINGTON - There was a slight murmur in the audience at the Postal
Service headquarters when the board chairman announced that two planes
had hit the World Trade Center in New York.
A few moments later an audible gasp went up from the rear of the
audience as a large black plume of smoke arose from the Pentagon.
Terrorism suddenly was at the doorstep and clearly visible through the
big glass windows overlooking the Potomac River. Overhead, fighter jets
scrambled from Andrews Air Force Base and other installations and
cross-crossed the skies amid reports that more hijacked planes were
bound for the Capitol on suicide missions.
'My God, it's like we're at war,' said a woman as the jets streaked
overhead. As she spoke, a sonic boom shook downtown Washington, and all
eyes scanned the horizon for signs of another explosion. There was
little panic, but federal buildings across the city were closed, and
thousands of workers jammed subways as they tried to leave the city.
'It's like the lifeboats on the Titanic,' said one worker as he
struggled to gain access to one of the few midmorning trains.
Streets in the Capitol were jammed. Police guarded streets around the
White House, and firetrucks were having difficulty answering alarms.
Rumors were rampant, including false reports that explosions had hit the
Executive Office Building and the Capitol.
'Everybody's just getting paranoid,' said an annoyed Roderick Jones, a
bike messenger, as he attempted weave through the crowds.
Police in full SWAT gear had automatic weapons at the ready. D.C. fire
and ambulance crews set up command posts along Pennsylvania Avenue, near
An agitated man climbed aboard the Yellow line subway train at the
Pentagon station, complaining that overly aggressive guards had just
cleared the station, yelling that there was a bomb. Fellow passengers
told him that the World Trade Center in New York had been hit by a
terrorist plane moments before.
As the train emerged from a tunnel and crossed the Potomac, one woman
pointed out the window and shouted, 'What's that?'
A thick plume of smoke was climbing out of the hollow center of the
Pentagon. Everyone on the train understood what had happened moments
'Oh my God, it's started,' sighed the man who had been complaining
(c) 2001 Denver Post Reposted For Fair Use Only