Around 1:00pm on 9/11, I remember walking back from my law firm, once we’d got confirmation that a partner with whom I was close was killed. For years, I had dated that partner's best friend, so "double dates" were the norm. At her anguished request I joined my ex-g/f at her house to share the grief.
Traffic was jammed--literally stopped around Dupont Circle--yet no one blew their horn. An eerie and graceful silence. I remember thinking to myself over and over: "Well, this is the new normal--we'll suffer one of these attacks every six months." Yet, that too didn't happen.
I'd like to think the two events were connected. Every adult who lived through September 11, 2001, grew up a bit, including our intel community. I know I matured that day. And as I slept on the couch at my ex-girlfriend’s apartment, I rededicated myself to this country and to American Exceptionalism. I still believe that's part of the shield protecting us for 20 years.
Below are some images from 9/11 and the next few days you may not have seen before. According to The Military Times, the picture of President George W. Bush was taken on September 12, 2001, as he shook the hands of first responders at the Pentagon. The flag hanging from the Pentagon--while rescue and recovery efforts still were underway--was sent by nearby Ft. Myers, and is the largest authorized flag for the military.
The clock is from the Pentagon, stopped at the moment of impact. Ironically, the Pentagon was in the process of a segment-by-segment renovation. The segment struck by AA flight 77 was the first (and sole) section renovated; the death tole within the Pentagon was relatively low because fewer than normal had moved back into their new offices.
The last two images show some of the antennas festooned around the top of the World Trade Center. The penultimate shot shows virtually every TV and Radio broadcaster transmitted from there. The final picture shows microwave feed horns as part of a longer transmission path, broken (of course) when the towers melted and turned to rubble. When the towers collapsed, radio and TV stations switched to their back-up transmitters/antennas, most on the Empire State Building. But those were not nearly as well positioned: over-the-air service in New Jersey and Connecticut suffered for several years.