By 11 a.m.,traffic was at a standstill. 56-year-old Wayne Williams had already spent about half an hour sitting in his Jeep Cherokee on I Street NW between 16th and 17th streets NW. In that time,he hadn't even moved into the street from the parking garage exit,he said.
The D.C. native said he didn't plan on getting much farther any time soon.
Williams was operating a crane across the street from where he now sat in traffic when he saw the smoke rising from the Pentagon.
“I saw it all from the air. I knew it was time to go home. I spent four years in the military. Nobody had to tell me it was time to go,” the 56-year-old said when asked if his employer had told him to go home.
Classes at George Washington University were canceled after the news of the attacks hit. Sophomore Natalie Solomon stood outside the Health and Wellness building at 2301 G Street NW on the southwest corner of the campus with several other female students. Some smoked cigarettes while others tried to place calls to family and friends on their cellphones.
“I woke up this morning and look over and see the Pentagon burning,” the 19-year-old said. She said her roommate woke her at about 9:45 a.m.
Solomon,19,lives at the Columbia Plaza Apartments,2400 Virginia Ave NW,which are north of the Pentagon.
Two summers ago,while visiting Israel,a bomb exploded less than half a mile from Solomon,she said. That experience helped her deal with yesterday's events. Solomon is originally from Birmingham,Ala.
“I saw the bomb,I felt the heat,the ground moved,” Solomon said. “I've seen terrorism.
“The problem is,no one knows what to do. Am I safer here or in Columbia Plaza?”