Later in the day, shortly before the arrival of Mr. Reagan’s coffin at Andrews Air Force Base, another reunion of Reagan officials got under way to literal pandemonium over a false alarm on Capitol Hill. At 4:40 p.m., while top Reagan administration officials were sipping cocktails and eating canapes in a Senate reception room, police officers burst in and shouted for everyone to flee the building.
“This is not a drill!” members of the Capitol Police Department screamed. “There is an incoming aircraft! You have one minute!”
Among those chased out of the building were former Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr.; former Vice President Dan Quayle; Dr. Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations; former Attorney General Edwin Meese III; Richard V. Allen, a former national security adviser; Kenneth M. Duberstein, a former White House chief of staff; Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of the News Corporation; Tom Korologos, a Reagan White House aide and longtime Republican lobbyist who was recently an adviser in Baghdad to L. Paul Bremer III, the top American civilian administrator in Iraq; Bob Colacello, a Vanity Fair writer who is working on a biography of Mrs. Reagan; and Margaret D. Tutwiler, a former Reagan White House aide who became the State Department spokeswoman in the first Bush administration and the ambassador to Morocco in the second.
In a scene reminiscent of the evacuation of the White House on Sept. 11, 2001, women took off their heels and men took off their jackets, and everybody raced down the steps, hair and handbags flying, pursued by police officers who told them they could not stop in spite of the heat.
By the time the group did stop at a patch of grass between the Senate building and Union Station, everyone was soaked with sweat.
“Some of these people are not 13,” Ms. Tutwiler observed.
Mr. Colacello said, “I didn’t know Rupert Murdoch could run so fast.”