House Pages Evacuate the Capitol on September 11, 2001: Tyler Rogers


We, we went into the basement of the Capitol. There was this thing called the “Page Cage,” which is basically like our locker room. So we were, we were told to evacuate, but it wasn’t like an immediate emergency when they told us the first time. So the Pages started running, but some of the Capitol Hill police officers were like, “Slow down, it’s okay, take your time.” So we went down there and grabbed our stuff. And I was—as I mentioned, I had seen those tickers saying that there was going to be a— the Mall, that there were fires on the Mall. And so we evacuated out the west side of the Capitol. You know, you come out basically the basement steps, and you just have this fabulous view of D.C. And so I was expecting to see fire on the Mall when I stepped out on this beautiful day. So that was a scene that I expected to see, but we, we could see actually smoke from the Pentagon. And so we, we started to walk down the main stairs there, and were walking sort of on the esplanade there, and that’s when the Capitol police officers just started saying, “Get the heck out of here. Start running.” And, and we were really scared. I mean, they were saying there was a plane on the way. And so that’s when, you know, we really got scared and started running. I have, I have a very vivid memory of, of seeing Independence Avenue, just, just no cars on it. But there was one fire truck that was going basically west down Independence Avenue. And there was just a beautiful American flag flapping behind it, and it was, it was one of those memories from the day that really sticks in my mind. So we all evacuated, walked between basically Rayburn and Longworth to get back to the dorm, and—this is one of the kind of light-humored parts of the day for us—we ran into one of our colleagues. One of the Page responsibilities is delivering flags, and so when you fly them over the Capitol, the Pages pick them up and deliver them to the Members’ offices. And so we have these big sort of mail carts full of flags. And one of our colleagues was on flag duty that morning, and she had her cart full of flags, and she was told to evacuate and she didn’t have anywhere to put the flags. So she’s rolling down the street with this gigantic thing. And she was one of the smallest Pages, but she has this gigantic cart full of flags. And she was just like, “I can’t leave these. I couldn’t just ditch them.”

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