The weather yesterday was almost a carbon copy (the way I remember it) of Tuesday, Sept.11, 2001. Beautiful. Clear. Obviously that’s a day none of us who lived through it will forget. The theme for yesterday’s column was where were you? Here are some first- hand accounts:
“My office was south of the Pentagon. (As an aside: In fact, you had been in the building a week earlier to interview a colleague of mine. He took you on a short tour of our operation and he introduced me to you. Just an aside.)
“I was talking on the phone and looking out toward the Pentagon heliport area. It was just after 9:30 a.m. I had been at the office for about two hours. A coworker walked in as I was talking. We still had windows that opened and closed, and mine was mostly open because it was such a beautiful day. We both heard a tremendous noise, looked out the window and saw the plane slam into the ground.
“He and I and some others rushed out of the building and headed toward the Pentagon. By then, traffic was stalled on all the roads around us. When we got near the damage scene a guard told us to go back. He said there were reports of snipers outside of the building. We went back behind some cars but after awhile the area started filling up with people so we went over to see if we could help. I remember word-of-mouth reports right after the attack that the State Department had been hit … and that planes were heading for the White House. I guess that is what they mean by the fog of war. I’ll never forget it.” J.E.
“…On 9/1,1 I was in the HUD building in downtown D.C. I drove home to Falls Church, Va., past the burning Pentagon. I saw people driving through the streets of Arlington to take the wounded to hospitals. It was a day I will never forget! I hope it is a day we never forget! — Marc Harris, Florida.
“I was in a conference, on the 11th floor of the U.S. Postal Service. We were having a board meeting. A Senate staffer was also there. We could see the Pentagon from our window. Thank God, I didn’t see it, but one of my colleagues did. We cleared the floor and went down to my office and turned on the TV and learned about the first Twin Tower. Nancy, the Senate staffer, lived near me. We left the building, got in the car and drove quickly across the Roosevelt Bridge. There wasn’t much traffic yet, so we moved quickly. While on the bridge we heard a loud explosion (turned out to be the sonic boom of another aircraft) that scared the crap out of us. I suppose everybody will remember where they were and what they were doing that day.” Kim W.
“I was working downtown, right next to the Mayflower Hotel. We shared a parking garage with ABC News. I was coming in, and they were all trying to get out of the parking lot. It got crazy. I got in, and then drove right out. I could see the smoke from the Pentagon, but I thought it had hit the State Department. I drove north on 16th Street heading for my home in Silver Spring. I had a new baby. I was listening to all-news WTOP (103.5 FM) and they said there was an airplane headed for Washington. Then one of the F-15 fighters roared overhead. I thought that was it.” Julie T.
Your Turn lineup
This week Mike has highlights from his conversation with attorney Tom O’Rourke about how feds and retirees can reduce their tax bite, and take control of their finances and estate by choosing wills, powers of attorney, and trusts. Then, Stephen Losey of the Federal Times will join Mike live to talk about the White House missing its congressionally- ordered deadline for a sequestration blueprint and OPM’s war on the retirement claims backlog. The Your Turn radio show starts at 10 a.m. EDT.
Listen if you can (1500 AM or online), and if you have questions email them to me at email@example.com or call in during the show at (202) 465-3080. The show will be archived here.
A school in Mesquite, Texas, banned skinny jeans and striped and checked shirts because administrators said, they were “disruptive of student learning.” Check out more of the list (compiled by Mental Floss) of strange things banned in schools across the country — including the dictionary!
Congress faces continuing resolution, sequestration and postal reform Lawmakers returned to Washington, D.C., this week with a packed agenda. Topping the list of priorities is hammering out final details of a stopgap spending measure to keep the government running beyond the end of the fiscal year — Sept. 30. Amid the election-year politicking, the list of unfinished business also includes legislation to restructure the financially ailing U.S. Postal Service and a cybersecurity bill that aims to safeguard the nation’s critical infrastructure.
GSA to centralize oversight of IT, HR after top-to-bottom review The General Services Administration is taking dramatic action to centralize and add more oversight to technology and human resources functions across the agency, according to testimony by the acting administrator obtained exclusively by Federal News Radio.
IRS pays whistleblower $104 million First, the government threw Bradley Birkenfeld in prison for helping a former client at UBS AG hide his wealth from the Internal Revenue Service. Now, as part of the same case, the IRS has awarded the former banker $104 million for helping expose the widespread tax evasion scheme by the Swiss banking behemoth.