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Former North Dakota Congressman Earl Pomeroy reflects on the 20th anniversary of 9/11

Published: Sep. 11, 2021 at 7:56 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - In 2001, Earl Pomeroy was North Dakota’s lone U.S Congressman. Like many others in Washington at the time, he says Sept. 11th was a day of anxious confusion, fear, and uncertainty.

“Coming to work that day, I thought ‘I really enjoy the weather in September’,” Pomeroy said.

He can still remember the beautiful morning, clear radiant blue skies; a normal day of coffee, and meetings on Capitol Hill.

Then he turned on the news and, minutes later, the evacuations began.

“Everyone’s standing around outside, there is no means of getting information,” he recalled. Later that day, he said he had his first look at the devastation driving near the Pentagon, which was struck by a plane at 9:37 a.m.

“There was an acrid smell in the air,” he said. “My first real view of the horrible tragedy we’ve been trying to understand.”

In the days following, Pomeroy described long meetings, unanswered questions, and chaos, but at the forefront, he recalled an unwavering sense of unity in Washington.

“I was driving to the airport, and there was a group standing with an American flag over the underpass, and out of the blue I started crying,” he said tearfully. “I hadn’t realized the emotion is still with me.”

Although he is no longer a member of Congress, Pomeroy noted the tensions again rising in the Middle East.

“Ultimately, our country we all love it left to right, Republican, Democrat liberal to conservative, and under attack, we’re going to come together like no other place and we’re going to continue the work of carrying this country forward.

Pomeroy served in Congress for 18 years, from 1993-2011.

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