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Engine won't start after I reconnected the battery

I have worked on my 1994 Jetta GL many times when I had to disconnect the battery. This time every time I would reconnect the battery the car would continue to honk. Usually it honks only once. I finally figured that although I had taken off the key from the ignition, the key position had been left in position as if the key was still in (old car feature). My realization was too late. I inserted the key and made sure to turn it to off position before removing it and reconnecting the battery. After I did, the engine cannot start any more. When I turn the key I get a rattling sound from the general area of the key, but the engine does not start. What did I ruin now?

It sounds like there may be a problem with the ignition switch possibly.

Cougar, Are you suggesting that the reason the car won’t start could be because of an ignition switch problem? I am aware of the ignition switch problem which made the switch stay activated even after I took off the key. However, I am wondering what got damaged because of reconnecting the battery while the ignition switch was engaged. Do you feel that it could be just the ignition switch that got further damaged?

If the ‘rattling’ is coming from the general area of the ignition switch, I’d second the idea that the switch has failed. If it’s actually coming from under the car, I’d guess that you’re hearing the ‘death rattle’ of the starter because the battery is very low or you have a bad connection on one of the battery terminals or at the other end of one of the cables.

Many thanks for the responses. I was fortunate nothing was damaged. I think it was a security lock-up. I am not sure why it did not resolve on my first connection of the battery after adjusting the ignition switch. This time I totally disconnected the battery, allowed it to sit a couple of minutes, then reconnected it - I was just restarting a troubleshoot sequence from the least demanding end. Next I was going to replace the ignition switch, but did not have to.