As anyone who lives in a city knows, public sidewalks these days are a free-for-all of pedestrians staggering along, zombie-like, staring intently at the screens of their phones. As well as infuriating other pedestrians, there’s some evidence that this behavior increases our chances of being hit by a car. To avoid that fate for its…
I am honestly not excited about his inauguration coming up and actually concerned about how people will react and be during his speech. I can only laugh and wonder what the hell were some thinking…he’s here now so we can only wait and see what he will do and hopefully be successful at it.
The latest survey by Gallup suggests that Donald Trump is wildly unpopular for someone who is about to take the oath of office as US president. Charted here are the pre-inauguration approval ratings for the US president-elect and his three immediate predecessors, based on polls taken the week before each man’s inauguration. Even George W.…
See! This is why we have airspace limitations on drones and where they can and can’t be flown. Although the city of Seattle doesn’t have such statutes, police can still charge you with wreckless endangerment. Before you start flying your drone all around town or city, you need to learn how to use it and be smart with it.
On Dec. 31, a drone pilot thought it would be nice to film Seattle’s most iconic structure, the Space Needle. The video started off well—beautiful, sweeping shots, taken during a stereotypically grey Seattle day—but then the drone takes a sudden turn, careening into its target at full tilt. A group of people were working on…
DAY 2 – 18 (09/12/01 – 09/30/01)
It was around 5:00 am when all commotion started with people yelling and talking loud, the lights above on the drill floor came on and the first sergeant trying to get everyone’s attention. Our marching orders came that we would be going to the Pentagon to assist in the search and rescue and recovery efforts going on. From that point to the time we actually left the armory was kind of a blur for whatever reason, but once our military equipment was loaded up we hit the road. We ended up getting a police escort from the armory all the way down to the Pentagon reservation. Maryland State Police, United States Park Police, Washington Metropolitan Police (when we entered D.C.) and a few others joined in on the escort. During the escort we nearly lost one of our vehicles to an idiot not paying attention or in a rush. It was one of our school buses that we used for troop transport and other things, which at that time had most of our equipment. I just remember hearing tires locking up and the bus on two wheels, but the driver recovered and was able to continue down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
When we entered Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Police joined the escort and took over most of the escort in blocking traffic. However, I remembered as we were coming down the road, going under a bridge, there was a car exiting off the ramp coming towards us. One D.C. Police cruiser came up along side us and partially blocking the ramp to slow down the car from impeding the escort. Well, I don’t know who this person was, but they didn’t slow down fast enough and didn’t listen to the direction that the officer was telling them. So the officer kept going and ever so close drove the other car nearly into the jersey barrier and I can tell if the car didn’t stop in time, he would’ve literally rammed the car into the jersey barrier and kept going. Luckily for them they did stop in time and I have no clue what happened if anything did. We kept going and several minutes later we drove up at the Pentagon where we met the Pentagon Police. Some time went by before we were given orders to secure the crime scene as chaos was still the leader of it all.
Not too long after we arrived most of us was just in awe at the destruction we saw in front of us. I just remember staring at it for a while and just thinking about the last moments of the passengers and employees lives. How scary that could’ve been knowing that your last moments here on earth was crashing into the Pentagon, and others who might’ve seen this coming while still in the building. As we could see people running around with their head chopped off, we tried to get ourselves together to firmly secure the scene from any further contamination. I don’t know exactly when this happened or how soon this happened after we arrived, all over a sudden we heard someone yell “ANOTHER PLANE COMING!!” and everyone running past us to a hill at the end of the parking lot. Firefighters sliding down the ladder off the roof of the Pentagon with the quickness to join the others. As most of us was about to join them we then received orders to stay put and not to leave! Yeah! I was thinking about my life flashing before my eyes if another plane came in to finish off the Pentagon while we are still here. I heard a fighter jet scream over head in the direction of the incoming plane, which was determined to be a FEMA plane coming from Tennessee.
A few hours later we saw them coming to the Pentagon with small smiles on their faces knowing that they dodged one from being shot down. This was not the only screw up that happened within the first week after the attacks. A federal jurisdictional battle ensued between the EPA, FBI, Pentagon Police and the military department. It was finally taken over by the FBI, who announced that they would have full jurisdiction and investigative authority. In the days that followed to the end of the month, better things came about when Outback, McDonald’s and other restaurant companies brought trailers full of food and employees. Free food every morning, afternoon and evening gave us decent morale to deal with the darkness that loomed over. I am, however, blessed that our unit was not given the detail to go inside the Pentagon to do the recovery mission. The stories I heard about the recovery efforts inside was just hard to hear and hard to imagine. Bodies froze in place for whatever they were doing at the time of the attack, bodies burnt to a crisp at a conference table and a partial body found with no shoulder and head. Body parts were found floating on the bottom floor in jet fuel and water.
My closes detail to seeing anything like this was when I had to protect a small alley way from being invaded by reporters and onlookers. This is where they were bringing out partial full body bags and just tossing them to each other as they put them in the back of a truck. I could almost look at the body bags and tell which body part it was being tossed between the recovery team members. I don’t know what detail was worse, recovery team, the detail I had or the morgue detail that was created on the other side of the Pentagon away from the media and others trying to see what is going on. Outside of that others were arrested at the Pentagon and soon released when it was figured out that many of them were trying to take advantage of the situation by stealing artifacts and items from the scene. A few might’ve even been blocked from trying to commit another attack on a much smaller scale, but that was never released to the public. Having numerous police and fire department agencies arriving at the scene from all over the place was pretty cool to see. Some came as far as North Carolina, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and even upstate New York. Too much of a surprise the Pentagon is actually in Arlington County, Virginia not Washington, D.C. like so many thought. I was told that Washington, D.C. owns the property which the Pentagon sits on, but has no authority over.
Slowly for the remaining two weeks of September things began to get organized and things began to run much more smoothly. Another bombshell was dropped on us as we approached the end of the month, which also spelled out the end of our detail at the Pentagon before going back home. However, going back home was not going to happen as we all gathered at a day room on Ft. Myers, where we were staying, and got word that our next mission was either in Seattle, Washington or Ft. Stewart, Georgia. It was quickly followed that our next mission would take us a year away from home beginning from October 2001 to October 2002. It might’ve been days or hours before our actually departure date from D.C. that we were going to Ft. Stewart, Georgia to replace the 3RD Infantry Division (Rock of the Marne). Once we got down to our final destination, we ended up staying at a hotel as our barracks were being built to make room, which I didn’t care about. Staying at hotel rooms for the two months were there was awesome and once again gave some credence to our mission there. However, we would never see Ft. Stewart, Georgia as our home for the next 12 months. We began our law enforcement tour of duty there in October and left in December to head back to the Pentagon to complete our remaining ten months.
Being present when this flag was flown and draped over the edge of the Pentagon was absolutely a proud and defining moment. Complete silence for the entire compound as we saluted the flag was astonishing and something I will never forget.
About ten months after our year tour at the Pentagon and Ft. Stewart, Georgia ended, we were once again called back up to serve our country in need. Kabul, Afghanistan would be our next destination for the next nine to ten months, but not all over us would serve in the same country. Our last tour was under Operation Noble Eagle and our next tour would be under Operation Enduring Freedom. Once again my career on the civilian side of law enforcement was delayed as I was in the police academy when our overseas orders came in and yanked just one week short of graduation. When 9/11 happened I was at the beginning stages of trying to start my career when my application was in and I was halfway through the process. Another chapter in my life was beginning and how I would respond coming back from a foreign conflict would soon come to pass.
OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE
On the morning hours of September 11, 2001, I was on my way to work in Tysons Corner, Virginia when I heard the radio broadcast about the Twin Towers in New York City being hit by two passenger planes. Just like other several citizens realized after the second tower was struck, I started to think that this was done on purpose. That same morning I almost took the route pass the Pentagon to go to work, which sometimes was much easier than cutting straight through D.C. I can’t tell you how many times I thanked God for not allowing me to do so or maybe I wouldn’t be hear today or very deeply scared mentally, emotionally and physically of the plane striking the Pentagon.
I finally arrived at work and could just feel the heaviness of the mood sitting in the air and everyone just stunned at what was happening. The next thing I remember after getting to work was seeing the Pentagon burning from the ninth floor of the KPMG building where I was working as a mail clerk at the time. For the next few hours majority of the employees in the building had left to go check on their family and loved ones who worked at the Pentagon. In that same time span I was asked numerous times did I receive a call from my National Guard unit, which never came until later. I must’ve waited until after noon when I finally left and headed back home to my parents house. Just before I got back home I was at the gas station in my home town refueling my car when I finally heard the State of Emergency being announced for the state of Maryland. I remember, after I got home, watching the Twin Towers on live television and the voices of horror from the news reporters after the second plane hit and when the towers collapsed.
I never understood what took Maryland so long to announce a state of emergency after D.C. and Virginia had already done so hours prior. At that point I knew I had to hurry home, which almost immediately after I entered the door I got that call from my unit to respond to the Baltimore Armory. At the time I got the call it was not mandatory to come in, but it that didn’t matter. My response was something like “HELL YEAH I’m coming in!” and I quickly packed a bag of my military gear, kissed my mother and two sisters before flying up the highway to Baltimore. My first sight when I rolled up at the entrance to the Parkville Armory was a Deuce and a half blocking the driveway with two of our MP’s standing in full battle gear with M-16’s ready for battle. One of the them requested to see my military ID before allowing me on the property. Several minutes later I heard that it was then mandatory for everyone to come in and report ASAP! Images of people rushing in from work, home or wherever was just amazing to see, but also let me know how more real this was.
It was talked amongst all of us that we just knew we were heading to New York where we believed they needed the most help. Our mental and physical preparedness was ready for that reality, which wouldn’t come until the following morning around 0500hrs. The chaos going around on the drill floor woke everyone and quickly our focus was on our first sergeant who gave us the marching order of the day…our next destination was the Pentagon where our help is needed immediately.
THE SMOOTH JAZZ CHANNEL
I remember growing up in the D.C. area many years ago and listening to the smooth jazz channel of 105.9. This was indeed my favorite channel to listen too, and often times got me in the mood of relaxation and meditation. One of my favorite artist to listen to was Boney James and how his tunes would set me in that mood I was looking for. Especially late at night when it was near bedtime or just those nights I wanted to just lean back, relax and just drift off into my fantasy land. Then suddenly one day the station was replaced by some sports or talk station! Now if you want to listen to music like this you have to have satellite radio. Well, I don’t have that ability right now in my Pathfinder, so I am stuck listening to CD’s, which skip way too much in my BOSE System or the local stations here in the northeast. The only station I can listen too regularly is 95.5 and sometimes 99.5 or 92.3. There are no more smooth jazz channels on regular stations anymore!! What the hell happened!!?? In dedication to my man, Boney James, I’ve listed a few of the tunes I love listening too. Let me know if you have problems viewing them! For some reason I can’t get the videos to load properly.
“STOP, LOOK, LISTEN (TO YOUR HEART)” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsTmzb1HHvM&list=PLxCU8U6lOk6WSD2aedQ9qkO1lhi-CRkRC&index=3
“GRAZIN’ IN THE GRASS” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu3qlNXMP90&list=PLxCU8U6lOk6WSD2aedQ9qkO1lhi-CRkRC&index=39