Pentagon survivor remembers 9/11
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - There were multiple attacks on September 11th, 2001. Most notable are the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. But seldom talked about is the attack that took place at the Pentagon.
Floyd Rodgers, former Director of Resource Management at Fort Rucker, recalls the tragedy that took place in Washington, D.C. 20 years ago.
“There were 4 of us that were going from Fort Rucker to Washington D.C. to the Pentagon for a meeting scheduled on September the 11th of 2001.”
The world outside of the Pentagon, everyone else around you, seemed normal?
“Well until we reached the hallway, someone stopped us rather excited and said, ‘have you heard what has occurred in New York City at the World Trade Center?’ all of us responded ‘no,’” Rodgers explained.
He continued, “And they said, ‘you really need to see what’s going on because planes have hit the World Trade Center.’”
Within the 34 minutes that the second plane hit the south tower in New York City, and the one that hit the Pentagon, what was that like?
“We had not heard anything over the radio. It was still being communicated from person to person throughout, as to what had occurred,” he said.
Were you worried about another attack?
“What came to mind was ‘well if they’ve flown two planes into the World Trade Centers, is there another plane, possibly, that’s going to be flown into the Pentagon?’”
“Then, of course, at 9:37 and 46 seconds to be exact, I had turned and was looking out into the courtyard from a rather large window that opened up into the courtyard. And all of a sudden there was this, almost a vibration and some percussion, and I saw the fire fly up over the top of the west side of the Pentagon. Just this ball of fire erupting over it,” Rodgers explained.
What went through your mind when the area that was hit eventually came down?
“My first thoughts and reaction were ‘they have flown a plane into the Pentagon,’” he said. “The defense hub of the United States of America.”
Do you ever feel that the events that happened at the Pentagon on September 11th get overshadowed by what happened in New York City?
“I do, you know, at times because of the sheer loss of life and what occurred in New York City and because two planes were flown into the south and the north tower. But I don’t dwell on that issue,” Rodgers said.
20 years later. When you wake up on this day, is it going to mean anything to you, or is it just going to be a regular day?
“I do remember it every year on September the 11th. I think one of the comments I made in speaking at an event on the first-year anniversary of this was a concern of apathy; that we the American public tend to forget things rather quickly,” he explained.
Floyd Rodgers’ message to the public is to always remember what happened, remember the lives lost, and remember the families that were forever altered by the attacks that took place on September 11th, 2001.
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