Fear, shock and panic

Intense fear. Sheer panic. Devastating shock. Deep sadness.
Two decades later, these feelings are relived with intensity when reminded of September 11, 2001.
It was a regular Tuesday. Our eldest son, Ryan, was at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA; our younger son, Philip, was at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, VA. Rick and I met our carpool at 6:15 am for a 7:00 am on-time arrival at work in Washington, DC; he at the USDA South Ag Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, and me at another USDA building called Waterfront Center near the Potomac River.
After a quick check-in at the office, I boarded the MetroRail at L’enfant Plaza making my way to a conference at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), an historically black land-grant university. The administrator of my agency, the National Institute of Food & Agriculture, and I joined about 100 other federal government colleagues to learn about UDC research initiatives.
We were sitting together when she got a call from USDA headquarters. It was shortly after 9 am. She whispered to me, “One of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City had been hit by a massive passenger airplane.” Stunned, I recalled a recent trip where I stood on the lookout tower of that building amazed to see a small airplane fly below me. For the complete story, turn to this weeks Elgin Review.