I was staying in a hotel across the street from the White House that morning. I was there with a group of other ISPs (internet nerds) who were to meet with members of congress to discuss compensation between and among phone companies dealing with dialup internet service (it was still a big deal back then). Arrived the night before and our reservation was lost. They put us up temporarily and said to call down in the morning to get more permanent digs. I got up that morning, phoned the front desk, and was put on hold multiple times by a harried clerk. Eventually, a man came on the phone and I asked what the young lady's problem was. He asked if I was watching TV. I said no, and turned it on. He said the young lady's brother worked in the tower and she couldn't reach him. We spent the next several days walking around DC, taking pictures, noticing the military presence on every corner, verizon and other communications vans and equipment zooming down the streets, setting up temporary communications "just in case". White House tours were suspended, then opened back up (surprisingly). Blood donors (me) were turned away as there was really no need for that much additional blood what with virtually everyone dying at all 3 incident locations. Smoke poured out from behind and above the building across the street, so we walked to the Pentagon (long walk!) and tried to get around to the backside to see up close where the smoke was coming from, but couldn't, and security obviously wasn't letting us through the gates just to be maudlin tourists. We couldn't get a flight back until the next week. We couldn't get a rental car - all gone. We couldn't catch a bus or a train that would get us home to our kids any time soon. We were pretty much resolved to buying a car or truck (I wanted/needed one anyway) and driving home. But then things calmed down, flights were resumed, and we flew home on Saturday, stopping in Little Rock, then Las Vegas, then Sacramento where we got into our waiting car and drove 2hrs back to our kids who were safely with grandma.
You can read my full daily journal entries (emails I posted on a family website) here: http://www.sherwoodfamily.org/journals.htm
And you can see pics I took while we were there here: http://www.sherwoodfamily.org/images/WashingtonDC/