Oct. 15, 2001, is a day I’ll never forget. On that day one of my staff members opened an anthrax-laced letter addressed to me, and my office became a part of the deadliest bioterrorism attack in U.S. history. Anthrax was also sent through the mail to a number of other people and organizations — the National Enquirer, the New York Post, broadcaster Tom Brokaw and Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont. These attacks killed five people, injured 17 others, disrupted operations all over Capitol Hill and alarmed an entire nation.
Twenty-eight people, including 20 on my staff, tested positive for anthrax exposure. Though relieved that they were spared the horror of the disease, I am reminded every day that the families and friends of five others were not so lucky. Robert Stevens in Florida, Kathy Nguyen in New York, Ottilie Lundgren in Connecticut, and Thomas Morris Jr. and Joseph Curseen in Washington were all victims of the attack.
Five years later, the alarm I and many others experienced on that dark day has been replaced by a deep discouragement and dismay. more