I will always remember where I was on that tragic day. Sitting in a travel agency desperately trying to make contact with all of my clients who were scheduled to fly that day. I had several in and out of New York City, Washington and the West Coast. I was able to make contact with all of my clients assistants who reassured me they just spoke to them and they have either safely landed or are still at the airport but all were accounted for. Then I contacted a group I had out in California, waking them up from a peaceful slumber. I told them to turn on their television so they could see what was happening. I informed them that I just booked them a car so they could make their way home as all flights were grounded until further notice. Once all of this had been done, I just sat there with a small radio in the background reciting everything as it was happening there in NYC. Then the mention of the Pentagon being hit…it was almost too much to bear. I’d never experienced anything like this and to hear people screaming in the background and the voice of the usually stoic journalist who seems to never be truly moved when reporting the news was now cracking with every word. This was a day that will remain with me until the day I die.
I remember speaking with our Area Commander, Major Rob Vincent about this day a few weeks ago. We were all sitting around the lunch table and that fateful day came up. Everyone discussed where they were on that day. Major stated that he received the call that he was needed at the Pentagon with a team of staff and volunteers. The Salvation Army would be a part of Camp Unity and would provide meals and prayer. With just a few hours of the plane crashing into the Pentagon, Major was transported to the site. He said there was still so much smoke and nothing had really been touched yet. The military led his crew to an area very close to the building and there they set up. Major said everyone would work for days without sleep and while the food to military personnel and emergency workers and volunteers was important to them as they sifted through the rubble, prayer was what they desired the most. Major said The Salvation Army remained on the inside of the roped areas while other groups remained on the outer perimeter because they were needed close by for comfort and counseling.
Today, let’s not forget…let’s remember the lost, the fallen, the heroes who risked it all to rush into burning buildings or take over a plane from the hijackers…God Bless America!
Photo courtesy of Spc. Tony R Knouf