A little after 8 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 77 lifted off from Dulles International Airport and ascended into the crisp, azure skies above. The flight, carrying 58 passengers and six crew members, traveled west en route to Los Angeles, before making an abrupt turn near the Ohio-Kentucky border.
At 9:03 a.m., air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane. Thirty-five minutes later, it crashed into the west side of the Pentagon at approximately 400 miles per hour. A total of 189 individuals lost their lives in the attack, including the five hijackers.
Five years later, Arlingtonians, like their fellow citizens across the nation, are still coming to grips with the meaning of that fateful day. The Arlington Connection asked a collection of nine government officials, community leaders, first responders and ordinary residents to reflect on the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Below are their experiences that day, in their own words.
<tgl>— Seth Rosen