Remembering the Pentagon attack

File picture of the scene of the attack on the Pentagon, 11 September 2001 The attack on the Pentagon killed 59 plane passengers and 125 people in the building

What I remember most was the smoke. It was so very brown - a thick column gushing out of the side of Pentagon.

Funny how smoke doesn't gracefully billow when there's that much of it. It pours out, angrily, aggressively and if uglily were an adverb it would do that too.

I was in a taxi on my way to the bureau when my editor called my mobile, on what must have been one of the last calls to get through that day, and told me he could see smoke coming out of the Pentagon and I should go there instead.

I crossed the river to Virginia and got to the Pentagon 20 minutes after the hijacked plane burst a hole in the South West side of the building.

As everyone who was here remembers it was an incongruously beautiful September morning and the lawns which surround the Pentagon were already crowded with young men and women.

With the bright blue sky and warm autumn sun, for a bizarre moment I remember thinking it looked more like a scene from a college brochure than the evacuation of a building under attack.

Most of the soldiers I interviewed that morning were calm and determined to focus on doing what they could to help. A couple though were visibly shaking, stunned, as we all were by the enormity of what had just happened.

One man told he was still in his car when he heard the roar of the plane just overhead. He thought at the time it was strange that a plane should be flying that low.

Evacuating babies

I left the Pentagon to walk back into DC to the office. There were no taxis by then, only gridlock.

The route took me across the Washington Mall where under some trees I found a group of babies lying their cots, gurgling contentedly up at the leaves.

On the side of each cot was taped a sign with the words "Evacuation crib." The infants had been evacuated from the creche of a nearby federal office building.

Those babies were probably the only humans in Washington that day who didn't know what had just happened.

You slip into professional gear at times like that. It's easier to be a reporter than face the terror of being a parent.

It was only when I got home at midnight and lay on the bed with my sleeping five-year-old daughter that the tension of the day gave way to fear of what was to come.

There were Humvees in our neighbourhood, military jets flying overhead and the prospect of dirty bombs made us particularly anxious. Should we get the kids out of town and if so how and where?

It seems sort of silly today, but we looked around the house and wondered which room would be easiest to seal off if something poisonous was released into the air.

The following week the children returned to school and apart from a minute's silence and a morning spent learning the words to America the Beautiful, their lives were remarkably unchanged. If only that were true for everybody else.

Katty Kay Article written by Katty Kay Katty Kay Presenter, BBC World News

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  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    All those who believe the official version of events should ask themselves one questions then re-examine the hard data in that light.

    Iraq had no WOMD and no links to Al-queda. If governments are capable of actively manipulating the public in this way leading to 100,000 of deaths to pursue an agenda they would also be capable of .....

    Now... look at the evidence again.. get angry and vote.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Basically theres not s hred of credible evidence to suggest there were any highjackings on 9/11, this is false flag terrorism, elements of the US and Israeli govts had a hand in the slaughter of all those innocent people, theres no question, the evidence is overwhelming and can be found by anyone with an open mind, same thing with 7/7 in london, it happens, and it will happen again! All for oil!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    I started out as one of those who thought the conspiracy theorists nutters, I delighted in telling them so, actively seeking information to prove them wrong.

    I am a chartered engineer trained in rigorous analytical thought, I also believe in the best in people.

    It took me 2 years until I was forced to accept what my analysis was telling me, 9/11 is far more horrific than most realise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Re 21
    I suggest watching the program on you tube that was made approximately 12months after the event. And fabricated a decade later. If it scares you to think the powers that be lie to you, get to used it

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    3 Hours ago
    Why has the eye-witness report from a driver who saw the plane approaching the Pentagon disappeared from the BBC website?"

    It's alright, found it again on Have Your Say. Sorry for casting aspersions on the BBC.


Comments 5 of 31



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