Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Star-Spangled Journey: When An Earthquake Shook DC

Throng of people rushing outside the museums in the National Mall.

It was August 23, 2011. A hot summer day in DC. After seeing The White House and the Washington Monument, we decided to explore the museums in the National Mall. Our first stop was the National Museum of American History. My brother had visited the place before so he decided to wait at the lobby while Mom and I  entered the museum. 

We checked a couple of exhibits when I felt the tremor. I dismissed it at first but then it started getting stronger with each passing second. Suddenly, stuff from the ceiling (was it bits and pieces of the chandelier?) dropped to the ground floor. The security people in the museum told everyone in loud booming voices to vacate the building. Then, there was a throng of people rushing out of the building. As mom and I made our way out of the building, I thought of my brother who was waiting at the lobby. I knew he was no longer waiting for us at the lobby but I hoped we would easily spot him outside the museum. And we did.

There were so many people outside the museum. And not just in the American History museum. At 2:00 p.m., the stretch of the National Mall was teeming with people. While we were waiting outside the museum, we (and the other museum-goers and employees) had so many speculations on the tremor. Was there a collision in the Metro? Was there a bomb explosion? Was it an earthquake? We had no idea what was going on because cellphone signals were jammed. After a long wait, we learned that an earthquake shook Virginia and several states in the East Coast. It was the first time in a very long time that DC experienced a strong quake, according to the employees who were also waiting outside the museum.

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