Letters to the Editor
Vol. 9, No.38
September 20-26, 2001
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From Shock to Strength, We Will Get Through This

Dear Bay Weekly:
Just over nine years ago, my wife, Lori, and I came to the Washington, D.C., area to find a house and begin a new life with a new career for me. It was over the July Fourth weekend, and I’ll never forget the first time I saw the Capitol. I was overcome with emotions. It was majestic, powerful and the symbol of our democracy for the rest of the world. Lori’s friend Donald, who lived here, drove us through the city that night, and my nose was pressed up against the window the entire time.

September 11, 2001 started as any other day for me, except, as I drove along the East Front of the Capitol, I was thinking how fortunate I am to see that building everyday. I could never have imagined that at 10:05am, I would be fleeing the city I have come to love. Not fully aware of what was happening, hearing reports of explosions here and there, I didn’t know if I’d get home at all. Cell phones were useless, so my wife didn’t know where I was or if I was safe.

Heading East on Pennsylvania Avenue, you can see the Capitol in the rearview mirror for quite a long time. I heard several explosions that I later learned were sonic booms from the F-16s flying air cover over the city. Each time my eyes would wander to the rearview mirror, waiting for the Capitol to no longer be there.

Once I passed Andrews Air Force Base, I felt I was out of any immediate threat. Traffic was moving smoothly, and there was little in the way of me getting home. I went through the gamut of emotions, but when an F-16 flew over, literally only a few hundred feet above the ground, I started to cry. I was in shock that this could be happening to our great nation.

Our thoughts and prayers are not only with the families of the victims of the attacks but also for this land of freedom. As a nation, we will get through this. Life will go on. Our children will go to school, factories will continue to produce, and the sun will rise, as I witnessed today, over the Capitol, with the Statue of Freedom standing watch over the Republic.

God bless all of you, and God bless our great country!

— Paul Sikorski, Lusby

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Bay Weekly