Remembering 9/11 : The Pentagon Attack


[BLANK_AUDIO] Every detail of the day
surrounding September 11, 2001 are forever imprinted in my mind. Starting with what I made for dinner
the night before to the exact uniform combination I was wearing that day. The day started off like
any other random Tuesday. Our office TV was always turned to CNN. I remember when the coverage
began in New York, when the first plane struck
the World Trade Center. My co-workers and
I gathered around the television and discussed how it was
such a horrible accident. Shortly after,
the second plane hit the second tower, and it was then that we knew
that it was no accident. I remember going back to my desk and having just a sickening
feeling overwhelm me. And I turned to my coworker and commented,
what is to stop them from hitting us here? I forgot about that comment until
a little while later when the exec for the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s
satellite office came over and announced that a plane
had hit the Pentagon. I remember thinking, impossible. We did not feel anything, and
no alarms were going off. We walked over to the TV and sure enough the news footage showed the
very building I was standing in on fire. We stood there in disbelief and
confusion as to what to do next, as there were still no alarms going off. A few minutes later, finally, the alarms
sounded and we were told to evacuate. Everything was orderly until we arrived to
the first floor of the building, where we were met with mass pandemonium and
the terrible smell of burning jet fuel. People were racing to the exits,
glass doors were broken. Security was threatening
to close the blast doors. I remember a lady attached herself
to me trying to drag me further into the building to find her husband,
and she was screaming and crying. [BLANK_AUDIO] Once we exited the north entrance and
walked across the bridge, I looked over my shoulder and saw the black clouds
of smoke rise up from the building. As I look forward,
I saw the initial triage area set up and people in bloody bandages. I remember a few people collapsed, and
I remember them evacuating the daycare kids into the lawn area
outside of the building. Scared does not begin to
describe my feelings. I spent a lot of time downplaying
my experiences on 9/11 because I do not feel like I am a hero or
a survivor. But I was greatly impacted
by September 11, 2001. Flight 77 impacted the Pentagon two
corridors away from where I worked. I would say that 9/11 was a significant
emotional experience in my life that still affects me 18 years later with a news
clip on TV, or a smell in the air. I will never claim to be a survivor and a hero simply because I
was there that day, but my experiences will never be
forgotten by me or my family. [NOISE] [BLANK_AUDIO]

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