‘Trying to understand what had happened’

I was working at U.S. Customs in the Ronald Reagan Building when word first started to dribble in about an incident in NYC.

My wife called to tell me about a huge traffic jam around the Pentagon and then about possible plane crashes. She urged me to get home as quickly as possible.

I took the Metro to Twinbrook with some of my colleagues and surprisingly, for Metro, the trip was smooth, other than the constant comments from passengers about what they had heard. There was a huge traffic jam on the local streets as people were frantically trying to get wherever they were going.

I tried calling my kids school to see what was going on there, and I was told that they were on lockdown, but would be released shortly.

After I got home, I hugged my wife and kids, and sat in front of the TV for many hours trying to understand what had happened and how our world would be changed forever.

Fifteen years later, I am still here, although now we call it Customs and Border Protection. Proud to be part of the struggle to make this a safer world for everybody.

—Gary Rosenthal

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