Monday night, I was at the Redskins game. It was a decent game. Would have been better if they had won. Every fan entering the stadium was given a flag. At halftime, we were asked to wave them as the Redskinettes danced to various patriotic songs.
While I was watching, my mind went back to five years ago. Do you remember then?
In September of 2001, I was in my second term as a City Councilman. I was running as a challenger for State Delegate in the “Republican” precincts of central Fairfax. My wife was pregnant with our second daughter. Marty Schottenheimer was coaching the Skins.
My cousin had come down to Virginia that weekend to help me out. Early on the morning of September 11th, I drove him to Vienna and put him on the Metro train. I then stood at the gate for the next 45 minutes shaking hands. When I got to work, the planes began to hit and everything changed.
I remember the small things that day. My Dad calling me from his office in Arlington to tell me that “a bomb had gone off” at the Pentagon. The bright blue of the September sky. The armed deputies standing in front of the courthouse.
Driving down to Fairfax Hospital to give blood for the Pentagon victims. The long line of people by the Bloodmobile. The cars parked on Gallows Road as off-duty nurses and doctors showed up for work. The surreal sight of campaign signs in the middle of Little River Turnpike. People were quiet, almost calm.
I remember the flags that were put out that weekend. They were everywhere. There was one that I remember in particular. It was the Saturday after 9/11 and I was knocking doors in the Westmore neighborhood of Fairfax City. A hand-lettered American flag was on the front of a screen door. I knocked several times. Finally, it opened. It was a Middle Eastern gentleman who was behind the door. He opened the door a crack and then smiled when he recognized me.
“Hey, it’s Chap.”
That’s the flag I remember the most. That’s what I remember from September 11th.