Carson City businessman Michael Hohl was attending a conference three blocks from the White House on Tuesday when the nation was suddenly thrown into chaos.
Hohl, who is president of the Nevada Franchise Auto Dealers Association, said speeches from several Congressional representatives were cut short when news of the World Trade Center disaster started filtering into the conference room.
"There was a state of disarray," said Hohl, who was told to stay inside his hotel room at the Capitol Hilton. "We went to the televisions to figure out what had happened. We started getting on the phones looking for alternatives out of town. Being stranded here is no fun."
Airports were closed immediately and not expected to reopen until this afternoon. Hohl's son, Matthew, a sophomore at University of Nevada, Reno was attending the conference with his father.
"When it happened this morning, the town was in complete rush hour after they released all the state and federal workers," said Hohl. "Traffic jams were everywhere. People were walking around in a daze. Now the city is a ghost town. There are armed guards on every street corner. It's like martial law."
Hohl said he and his son would try to get on the first flight out of Washington, D.C., today, but did not rule out other means.
"My intent is to get out of town," he said. "If that takes a car or a motor home, I'll take whatever I can get."
Hohl echoed many Americans who were stunned by the devastation.
"We've been led to believe that we are bulletproof," he said. "Obviously, that is not the case."