Memories From September 2001
Heading through the Beltway traffic on my way to the NCUA offices in Alexandria, Va., as the acting chairman of the agency on Sept. 11, 2001, I learned from radio reports that two of the World Trade Center towers had been hit by commercial jets–obviously no coincidence. But the far-reaching aspects of that day were brought even more to bear when I walked into my offices that Tuesday morning to see the smoke rising outside my windows that faced the Pentagon.
The truly sickening feeling of being an eye witness to a stunning piece of history and the reality of a great nation under attack was literally all around us as we brought scheduled meetings to an abrupt halt and the leadership team at NCUA chose to send the bulk of our staff home, if they wanted to go, or remain in the NCUA headquarters if they felt safer there. With loss of life mounting in both New York and Washington (as well as in Pennsylvania by noon of that day), most had rightfully elected to go home by mid-day to be with their families as a small handful of us stayed at headquarters until we had accounted for every NCUA employee in New York and Washington as well as the status of credit union employees in branches in and near the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.