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The Pentagon

After September 11th

I used to live in DC.  I used to work for MCI at their office building in Pentagon City, Virginia.  Some days I used to ride my bike to work.  On those days I rode on the Mount Vernon Trail bike path which followed the banks of the Potomac river and also branched off inland.  That part of the bike path went by the Arlington National Cemetery and also past the Pentagon along its north face.  This is exactly where the terrorists struck.
On the right is a satellite image of what I am referring to.  Its orientation is about 90 degrees off, counterclockwise (north is to the top in the photo above and to the left in this one.)  But you can easily match it to the image above.  The one above was taken shortly after the terrorist's attack, the black and white image to the right here was taken from a satellite back in 1988. 

When I was attending George Washington University in DC back in the mid-80's I was also enrolled in the ROTC program out of Georgetown University.  This required me to keep my hair at a regulation length.  I soon found out about the barbershop at the Pentagon and that is where I would go to get my hair cut.  I did this for all the time I was in the ROTC.  I even did it once or twice when I was working for MCI.

I started work for MCI in January of 1986.  I worked at the Mid-Atlantic Billing Center in their Pentagon City office location.  The headquarters for the Mid-Atlantic Division of MCI was in the tower next to ours.  The headquarters for MCI itself was on 19th Street across the river in DC.  I have since learned that MCI no longer occupies either of the towers at 701 S. 12th Street.  They have moved their operations further out into the suburbs where the rent is cheaper.  MCI was there for a long time though.

I was always surprised at how approachable the Pentagon was.  The actual bike path doesn't run right up next to the building.  Instead it makes a gentle arc away from it.  I tried riding my bike on that.  Once.  That path was too narrow and the concrete pavement too broken up to be of much use.  I much preferred the direct route riding on the service road next to the Pentagon.  That road is right up against the building.

One day I decided to stop my bike, dismount, walk over to it, and lay my hands on the building itself.  I was that close and access was that free. 

I remember another time having my access to that path blocked by a Defense Protective Service patrol car.  This was just temporarily and as soon as the Secretary of Defense flew away in his helicopter, which had been idling just a few dozen yards from where I had to stop, I was free to proceed.  Yes, that close.

That was a long time ago.  Seems even longer now.

I have not lived in the DC Metro Area for over a decade now.  I have very few friends left in that part of the world.  I was back in DC last year but the closest I got to the Pentagon was when I flew in to and out of National Airport (I refuse to call it Ronald Reagan Washington National.)

I am not putting this page up in some attempt to claim I am somehow involved in what happened, or am closely linked to those who died or were injured.  On September 11th I was just waking up when I learned of the terrorist's attack.  I turned on the TV just in time to see the North Tower of the World Trade Center begin its collapse, the South Tower had already come down by that time.

All of this happened very far away from me, on the other side of the country, and I only saw it on TV. 

I have been to New York.  Four times.  I went atop the Empire State Building and even flew from atop the old PanAm building via helicopter.  That was it though.  I didn't get to the WTC on any of those trips.  No need to, I thought, for I could always get there on my next trip.

The company that I work for, SAIC, has lost one of its employees to the attack.  He was a Systems Analyst who worked in the Pentagon out of our MacLean office.  That is about as close as I came to the attack on the Pentagon.  I know a bunch of folks from New York and even have some family there but none of them were directly affected by the Pentagon attack or by the WTC attack.  Luckily.

That is about it.  Just a few thoughts on my personal history as it related to this attack.  As I write this the fires at the World Trade Center are still smoldering, the effort to recover the dead continues amidst its rubble, and the bombs are falling all over Afghanistan.

I used to think the phrase "May you live in interesting times" was a compliment.  Then I learned that the Chinese considered it a curse.  Now I can see why.  We do live in interesting times indeed.


If you would like to know more about me, then ask me directly.  Just click on my email address here: 
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In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed your "stay" at this site.  Check back again to see what new images I have added.  Until then, stay well, play hard, play safe, and have fun!


This page was last updated on: 27 February 2003  

Unless otherwise noted, all photographs and images on this page are copyright protected property of Madoc Pope.  If you would like to use any of my images you must contact me first before you do so.



In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed your "stay" at this site.  Check back again to see what new images I have added.  Until then, stay well, play hard, play safe, and have fun!