At first, the successful bombing of Baghdad washed away much of Washington's anxiety about the cost of war with Iraq. But it didn't even take a full day before old doubts and nagging discomforts came crawling back.

"Last night, I was so scared and frightened," said Sheerah Roache, sales manager for a car rental agency in the District. "I feel a lot better today because we got off on the right foot. But I'm still scared. I'm waiting for the other shoe to fall. Will there be a ground war?"

"It's like a Redskins game when it starts out really well and you're scared they'll blow it," she said.

Official Washington had the same worry, and Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney warned Americans yesterday about assuming that the worst is over.

"We are in the very early stages of an operation that may run for a considerable period of time . . . there have been casualties, and there are likely to be more casualties," Cheney told reporters. "So while we feel very good about the progress to date, it is important, I think, for everyone to be careful about claiming victory or making assumptions about the ultimate cost of this operation in terms of casualties."

"So far, so good," he said, counseling against any premature euphoria. His warning seemed prescient by yesterday evening with reports that Tel Aviv had been hit by Iraqi missiles.

In interviews with scores of people in the nation's capital on the first full day of the war, people talked first about relief and pride -- then they talked about worry. Would the news change? Another jet down, a ship hit, a bloody ground war begun?

"I'm as proud as a peacock," said Paul Anderson, an account executive from Silver Spring. "I take my hat off to the military. There was a lot of tenseness in the waiting; I'm relieved that it's out in the open."

But now that it is, Anderson said, everyone wants to know how long the war will last and how many lives it will cost.

"We all hope this doesn't drag out," he said. "You can't help but feel Saddam Hussein is up to something. Why didn't he get more of his missiles off? He's not going to give up easily."

As the bombing continued in Baghdad, extra security was added in Washington. Everywhere, it seemed, there were bomb-sniffing dogs, police in bulletproof vests, sharpshooters.

Hundreds crowded into a special Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Northwest Washington.

Many found it hard to work. People who never visit the area around the White House did yesterday, shouting down anti-war demonstrators and telling them it was the hour to pull together.

"Divided we fall; united we stand," Charles Patrick Sterling, a Maryland salesman, shouted at the protesters.

"What are you talking about! We're blowing Iraq to pieces," shouted back Falls Church carpenter Eric Carlson. "We've probably killed thousands already."

As the two argued, the noontime crowd grew until more than 500 people were shouting down the smaller band of protesters.

"It's for the historians to figure out why we got into this," said James Findley, a Crystal City business manager. "And it's for Americans to support the president now."

Throughout the Washington area, there were other signs of the distant war.

Bethesda Naval Hospital began preparing for casualties. Teachers rolled out television sets and told students to watch history unfold.

Tourism officials worried that the war would hurt the city's second largest industry, as convention-goers began canceling trips and airlines announced they would refund even some non-refundable tickets for canceled trips.

The war also worried some local drivers, who lined up for gas in some areas.

At noon, the Shell station in Fairlington had about 15 cars waiting for a pump, said owner Nick Oglesby.

"Usually at lunch time, you see one or two cars," said Oglesby, adding that "everyone" was talking about the war and what it would do to oil prices.

"I'm worried this will go on and on. I'm not optimistic," said Mariellen Blaser, a student from Wheaton who attended a prayer for peace at St. Matthew's Cathedral. "I don't think it will be as nearly as quick as they say."

But J.G. Huckenpohler, a survey analyst at the National Science Foundation, was more confident. "I was just thinking about how this has gone so much better than Normandy and Inchon," he said, referring to American battles in World War II and the Korean war.

The National Park Service reported that attendance was down at most monuments, except for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where there were more visitors than usual.

And Washington convention organizers and hotels received what they fear will be the first of many cancellations.

"A number of people aren't comfortable traveling anywhere when there is a disaster," said William Sell, vice president of World Expo Corp., the sponsor of a telecommunications trade show later this month. "Compound that fear with this being in the city of Washington and their feeling that it could be the target of a terrorist attack."

Dolores Bohen, spokeswoman for the Fairfax County public schools, fielded a number of calls from parents who were concerned that the schools might be terrorist targets. "Are you going to keep the kids home for the next six months?" Bohen said she told them.

Although most schools reported no drop in attendance, in Northwest Washington, the principal of Lafayette Elementary School said parents were keeping their children home because they feared terrorist attacks at the nearby embassies.

For children, the news of war seemed particularly distressing and confusing.

A District mother said her 14-year-old son slept with his jackknife and slingshot.

"He asked me what our plan was if the bombs dropped here," she said. "He wanted to get gas masks at Sunny's Surplus, to take a bus out of town to Harpers Ferry {W.Va.}, find a safe place to hide."

Counselors at Phone Friend, a District hot line for youngsters to talk about their problems, listened to many children afraid that their fathers or mothers stationed in Saudi Arabia would be killed.

Several said they called the hot line so they wouldn't trouble other family members who also were upset.

"We are getting a lot of calls from children who are very scared about what's happening over there," said Channing Wickham, director of the D.C. hot line. "They are concerned about family over there. They are scared about them dying."