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.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    These events were horrific. However, there is a large volume of misinformation surrounding much of this day. To openhandedly believe all that is represented as "the truth" by government agencies & the media is thoroughly foolhardy. There is far more to many of these 9/11 stories than we are lead to believe. The sheep follow the shepherd without unquestion; where he takes them, they do not know...

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    @21, after having watched that BBC doc last night, i can tell you it most definitely was not a plane, no wreckage after initial impact, then one piece of coloured metal, many hours later, the hole was tiny and there were no wingmarks, the doc was terrible, and the 'reconstruction'?? firing a metal pole through a wooden plank, no wings because 'they wouldnt have mattered'?? is that fair & unbiased?

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    BBC correspondent Katty Kay tells us nothing in her story. Her account is more than 20 minutes after the event, with supposed first hand account eye-witnesses. The rest of her piece of fiction is all emotionally tinged subjectivity about the weather, her family, etc. designed "for the how awful for you dear" factor. Pass the hankie, please.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    @ Jamie. I am not one of those assigning their own values to words like "certainty" and "fact".

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    @ makkari- As an aircraft engineer I can tell you that the strongest part of the aircraft is the wing spar, this is machined aluminium and has a thickness of around 1 inch typical not including the wing/fuse marry up section. If an aircraft had struck a building the damage area would be larger as the wings would essentialy cut into the building, THE FACT IS no aircraft hit this building!

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Re:Number 3 - having watched a documentary just last night about the attack on the pentagon, I can tell it was most definitely a plane, considering the amount of debris there was scattered around from the plane itself!

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    So, conspiracy guys are nuts, and the folk who believe a plane was able to hit the most protected building in the world on the side that was empty after renovation, after flying around in the most protected airspace by an amateur who failed his cesna license whilst avoiding all security cameras and making all remnants of the palne disappear into a tiny hole are sane?

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    @18, if i may, yes i noticed that too, the 'official' eyewitnesses vary massively, in numbers and in testimony, strange how thats all the evidence we have of a plane hitting the pentagon, after impact the lawn was pristine, and the hole was very clear, approx 16ft wide, no wing or tail marks, what on earth are the pentagon playing at? Even rumsfeld said 'the missile used to damage this building'!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Today's not about conspiracy theories it's about remembering those who died and their families and friends who lost someone close.

    Show some respect and save your views on how it happened for another day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Makkari, I am a realist, and not a conspiracy theorist. Look at the alleged evidence. Now ask yourself is that caused by a plane?? Because anyone with an IQ above room tempreture can see it wasn't

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    BBC i would like to thank you for allowing my posts thus far, i am a concerned citizen with real questions, you are showing a much better sense of fair play than your conspiracy files did, i promise i will also be fair and wont remind you that you reported WTC7 demise 20 mins early, and that you also reported several 'highkackers' alive and well in saudi arabia, after 9/11! Thank you

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    I would like to know if either there are 86 cctv cams that were indeed confiscated, or if there were none that were confiscated, and the only ones that caught this very strange 'crash' were indeed the ones released, that still dont show a plane, i would also like to know taxi driver mr lloyd englands testimony when he was secretly filmed in his car, he suggests foul play from the FBI

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    A question for Katty. You report that you spoke to a driver who heard a plane close overhead. Did you speak to anyone who actually saw the plane? There were a lot of people in DC that day, I have never heard or see an interview with anyone who claims to have seen the plane. I'm a journalist myself and I don't like conspiracy theories, but this is a big gap in the reporting, don't you think?

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    re8 and 11, please comment on the story before you comment on other peoples posts, you see by doing that you give yourselves away instantly, the reason we are posting is talk about the 9/11 lie/ no plane at the pentagon etc, please talk about the story, please explain where the plane went? if it all 'vaporised' then you need to tell the BBC because their vid insists the wings sliced through steel


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