I worked for CDF at the time. We were just heading into incident base on the Poe fire for the start of a day on. There was rumor about a major incident at the Pentagon and we were all saying “There is no way that happened.” Then as we rolled into the base, we noticed groups of people standing around televisions and radios. We knew then it was big. Someone came up to our engine and said that there was a terrorist attack on the Pentagon and the WTC.
I immediately called my girlfriend at the time (my wife now). My call woke her up. I said to her, “Turn on the TV and tell me what you see.”
She replied “What channel?”
I said, “It doesn’t matter. If it’s as big as it sounds like it is, it’ll be on every channel.”
She turned on the television and said, “Ok, it’s on. What’s going on?”
I asked “Tell me what you see.”
“I see a lot of smoke. They’re saying something about a plane crash. Oh my god!”
My heart was heavy and I was in complete disbelief. I told her I had to go, but that I’d try to call her later.
@Kevlar hit it dead on…it was surreal. Later that night as we lay on the fire line, contemplating the future, very large planes could be heard flying overhead in the black of the night sky. We knew that all civilian air traffic was grounded, so it could only be military planes. It was bone chilling. I’ll definitely never forget.