9/11/11 was a beautiful day at Red Cross Square in Washington, DC. The sky was very blue and cloud free, the temperature perfect.
In the mid-morning my American Red Cross colleague – Mary Etta Boesl asked me by phone if I had seen that a plane flew into the World Trade Center. I immediate went to my VP’s office and watch a second plane fly into a second World Trade Center Tower in New York and we both knew the world would never quite be the same.
Federal employees in surrounding buildings (we worked near the White House) started flooding onto the streets; traffic stopped and did not move for over an hour.
The Red Cross began its response and soon learned the Pentagon, across the river had also been struck by a third plane.
Not knowing what would happen next, my wife and I evacuated by car (after I ran 5 blocks south to avoid the traffic snarl), not knowing what would happen next we headed out of town (passing the chemical fire response truck from Dulles Airport headed to the Pentagon) to pick up our young children from elementary school in No. Virginia.
It was eerily quiet in our suburban neighborhood, the school administration shared that had not informed the students yet, since they did not know whether any parents were impacted at the Pentagon site.
My wife headed to the Red Cross blood donation center and I called into my office from home to start mapping out national volunteer response plans.
Luckily my daughter had visited the blood donation exhibit at the Red Cross Museum so she was not afraid when I told her that her mom was donating blood at the Red Cross.
We made the decision to let our 5 and 8 year old children be exposed to the Television coverage of 9/11 especially since I would be involved in the Red Cross response.