Visited the Pentagon today...
I figured I might as well share this experience with all of you. I didn't take pictures, something about it just wouldn't feel right to me. I felt like I had to go, it would make everything seem more real. On my way there, I picked up a bouquet of red white and blue flowers.
There are homemade banners saying "God Bless America" and flags that people have hung from almost every highway overpass along 270 and the beltway. As I drove into the area, I caught a glimpse of the Pentagon's damaged side, and even though I've seen it on TV, I just gasped. However, I couldn't pull off anywhere near there (with good reason, there's security concerns of course). So I ended up crossing the bridge into downtown DC. The Mall seems very empty to me, no tourists... it was eerie.
I looped back around and after talking to some friendly cops (or were they Pentagon security? I'm not sure), figured out where I should go... circulated my way through Arlington to the right spot. There were lots of people there with their kids, some standing at the top of the hill, and others walked down the hill to the very edge of the area, as close as they could get. So, I went down the hill too. Crossed a road and by a gas station there were all these news vans, photographers.
And beyond that, the same view of the Pentagon that we've been seeing for days now. It had an eerie familiarity to see it in person from the exact same angle as on TV. Just, more people standing and staring. I didn't see anybody crying but everybody there looked shocked.
I was just staring at first. Avoided making eye contact with people. I was almost embarassed that I had flowers with me, because I didn't know anybody at the Pentagon and maybe some of these people did.
While I was there, an Army helicopter landed maybe 50 feet away, and dropped off three guys with FBI jackets carrying some metal boxes. It was so loud and windy, I've never been that close to a hovering helicopter before... much less a military one. I belatedly realized that I was hugging the bouquet of flowers as the wind whipped by.
The helicopter pilot and crew saw us all standing there, so they hovered for a minute about 10 feet up and waved to us, we waved back, then the helicopter left. It was nice of them to show that they saw us. I was really really surprised they landed so close to us, actually.
I found a spot where somebody had left a family photo and some flowers, so I stopped there for a minute. That's where I left the flowers I brought. I thought to myself, these flowers are for everyone that was in the Pentagon, and for all of their families, and for all of us. I was thinking of all of you, too. I also gave three flowers (red/white/blue) to one of the guys at the gas station where we were all camped out, just because they've been patiently dealing with so many news people and locals.
I was choked up and just barely crying as I left, but very quietly. Sang the national anthem in the car where nobody could hear me. I didn't know what else to do really, but it all felt right, so... there's that, at least.
So I've been all choked up and tense since then. Not like I went there expecting to feel BETTER, but it was still the right thing.
Earlier today I hunted and hunted until I found a dead wasp, and I'm going to incorporate it in the sculpture I described in the "911 art" thread. I also kept one of the tiny blue flowers from the bouquet, I'll use that too.
Last edited by pixelscapes : 09-23-2001 at 06:06 PM.