LG WOMAN SEES PENTAGON BLAST
By Ray Linker
Observer Staff Writer
A La Grande woman was a witness to the terrorist plane crash in Washington, D.C., Tuesday that destroyed a portion of the Pentagon.
Sharry Schacher, secretary to La Grande School District Superintendent Dan Arriola, was in the capital with her husband, Jerry, who was attending a business conference.
I was in our room at the Doubletree Crystal Court, on Highway 395, right across from the Pentagon, when I heard a banging on the door, Schacher said.
Jerry ran in and said, Theres been a bomb, and we ran down the hall to see. From our hall, there is a direct view of the Pentagon. We saw black smoke from the plane crash. It was pretty alarming. All we could do was watch.
Immediately, everything in the entire city was closed down. All we can do now is stay in our room and watch TV, she said by phone Tuesday evening. All we are hearing are sirens of police and rescue vehicles. A police helicopter is in the air.
Every now and then we can hear an F-16, which must be just patrolling the area. Jerry just went out and bought a Washington Post, which reported 100 dead or injured in the Pentagon plane crash, she said.
It didnt hit me right away, but its pretty devastating. I realized its the biggest thing thats happened since Pearl Harbor.
Schacher said she had been in contact with La Grande school officials as well as with her children and other family members in La Grande earlier Tuesday.
The Schachers were scheduled to fly out Tuesday, but with all planes grounded until at least noon today, their return to La Grande was rescheduled for Thursday. She said she would be back at work Friday.
La Grande High School sophomore Mallory Romer said she first heard about the terrorism attacks in Washington and New York City Tuesday morning when she got to school.
Some of the teachers were crying. It was a major tragedy, said Romer, 15.
In teacher Jerry Sebestyens psychology class, students were quiet in mid-morning as they watched on television the followup to the catastrophic plane crashes that destroyed New Yorks twin 110-story World Trade Center buildings and burned the Pentagon building.
Principal Doug Potter addressed the students via Tiger TV at 8 a.m., giving an update on what he knew.
I spoke for a time, urging everyone to get more information, to get the facts straight.
It was an incredible tragedy, astounding. My plea to the students and staff is that they react with intelligence, that this was probably the work of a small group and that we shouldnt take it out on those who are not at fault.
Potter said he had been talking to faculty members.
Teachers have handled it beautifully. They havent ignored it nor exacerbated it. They have talked about it, engaging the kids, answering questions, then, as appropriate, moved on when it felt right. We are not trying to minimize the event.
Senior Jared Andrews, 17, said he and other students had been watching the events of the day unfold on television.
I heard about it first on the radio and thought of all the people who died. Some of our teachers were crying.
Journalism students were busy putting together a news report which was scheduled to air on Tiger TV at 2:55.
Well have a story on student and teacher reaction, and we went into the community to get their opinions, said Nicole Seale, 16, a reporter on the project.
Lindsey Carmichael, 16, also worked on the broadcast. She said she had called a woman in Boston whose daughter had worked for Carmichaels dad.
She said she was in the seventh grade when Pearl Harbor happened and that this was very similar. She said she was stricken that this had happened. She said she lived in a Boston suburb and (Tuesday morning) no one was in the streets.