Escape from the Pentagon Library

This is a written interview with my friend and National Defense University Library co-worker, Lily McGovern. In September 2001, Lily was a reference librarian at the Pentagon Library (PL) . The Library was in the section of the Pentagon hit by the plane, but because it mostly in the inner most or A ring, the plane did not penetrate that far into the building.

During the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001—60 years to the day after construction began on the Pentagon—a hijacked plane struck the building, killing 189 people and damaging roughly one-third of the building.

From History.Com
  1. Where were you when the plane hit  and what were you doing?

I was at my desk in the Pentagon Library (PL).  I had been on vacation and it was my first day back at work.  Someone heard about events in New York so we were watching the planes hit the World Trade Center on the TV in the PL.  It was upsetting to watch the tragedy in NY, especially the second plane hitting the World Trade Center and the collapse of the Twin Towers, so I decided to get back to work at my desk.

I should add for anyone who is not familiar with the layout of the Pentagon that the PL was previously in space that straddled wedges 1 and 2 of the Pentagon renovation project.  The temporary wall erected between wedge 1 and wedge 2 was actually in the library area.  There was a lot of planning and physical work to rearrange the PL and squeeze into a much smaller space.  Since the temporary wall between the renovation wedges cut off the A ring at the PL, the library gained some space from what had been the A ring corridor.  The front door was now in the A ring. For over a year we could hear the sounds of wedge 1 being stripped to the bare concrete, construction equipment backing up, jackhammers, saws, drills and all that. 

When I heard the big boom, I immediately thought that someone had dropped a big heavy something in wedge 1.  They were moving offices into the renovated area and we knew that shelving was being installed in the part of wedge 1 where the PL would be.

Note: From the Pentagon Renovation Program, Wikipedia:

Wedge 1 was the first above-ground section of the Pentagon to undergo renovation. Demolition of the existing structure and hazardous material abatement began in 1998, and the first move-in of tenants occurred in February 2001. The last tenants moved in on February 6, 2003.

The renovation of Wedge 1 involved the renovation of one million square feet of space. This involved the removal of 83 million pounds of debris (70% of this was able to be recycled), and 28 million pounds of hazardous material. The renovation also saw the installation of eight new passenger elevators, new blast-resistant windows, escalators traversing all five floors, skylights, a new HVAC system, a new communications infrastructure, and a new open-plan office layout.

The Library was between Wedge 1 (in blue) and Wedge 2 (in light green). It was on the first floor in the A (or inner most ring.)

2. How as the word spread on what to do? What did you do?

One of my coworkers saw the heavy glass doors of the PL swing open as we heard the big boom.  He yelled that it was a bomb and to get away from the windows which lined that side of the library.  I recall being told to evacuate the PL and that people who exited using our fire evacuation route came back saying there was smoke that direction.  I was checking with the other librarians to see that we got everyone to leave and when we were sure, I left. I don’t recall whether the fire alarms went off. Funny how many details I have forgotten over the years. You might think I’d remember it so clearly but not thinking or talking about my experience for years has faded my memory.

3. Were you allowed to get your personal items, such as a purse or take anything with you when you exited the library?

Luckily since I was at my desk. I shut down my computer and grabbed my purse, pretty much as a reflex action.  During fire drills, it might take a while to get back into the building and I seem to always need a tissue.  My friends who left with only their Pentagon badges, which we had to wear at all times, were not allowed back into the PL to retrieve their purses and belongings for several months.  They had to cancel credit cards, replace driver’s licenses, and any important items. They also didn’t have money or their Metro passes unless they kept them with their badge..

4. How did you exit the Library and where did you go?

Since our usual exit route had smoke, we exited into the A ring through the PL’s main door and over to the exit to north parking. Going through the Pentagon there was no sign of smoke and the only unusual thing was people moving fast towards the exit or in the direction of where the smoke was seen by my coworkers.  I felt no great danger as I exited the building.

 I carpooled with Ann Parham who was the Army Librarian and worked in an office in the renovated and reopened part of Wedge 1. We were parked in north parking so I went to her car.  Once I was outside the building, security guards were telling people to move away from the building and smoke was visible around the side of the building that faces Henderson Hall and Arlington Cemetery.  People were saying that a plane had hit the building.  It was a very sunny and warm day for September.  Very soon the guards were telling us that we had to move farther away from the parking lot because there was another airplane that could be headed for us.  I scribbled a note to Ann that I was out of the building and OK, placed it under the windshield wiper and started walking away with some of my coworkers.

5. How did they account for everyone and were there any library staff who could not be accounted for?

There was no opportunity to account for everyone once we evacuated.  It was standard procedure to insure no one was left behind during a fire drill and that was done before the PL Director Katherine Earnest and the last librarians left.  Once outside we were told to move farther from the building and parking lot so couldn’t meet at our assigned spot.  Ms. Earnest and division supervisors called employees at home to account for everyone.  I know it must have taken quite a while and I’m not sure when Ms. Earnest arrived home.  Cell phones were not working by the time we were out of the building and moving.  The call volume had crashed the system.  I’m not sure when cell service was restored since I didn’t own a cell phone at the time. By the next day I heard that everyone was accounted for and all were unscathed.

6. How and when did you get home?

We had walked some distance from the parking lot and came to a road. A woman pulled her car to the side of the road and yelled out that she was headed to Alexandria and could give a ride to anyone who needed one.  I told my friends to jump in and we could go to my house.  I am eternally grateful to this woman and regret that even though she told us her name, none of us could remember it later.  She was a real good Samaritan to the 4 of us.

She asked where in Alexandria we wanted to go.  Since one of my friends lived in Maryland and rode the Metro to work, I asked her to drop us at the King Street Metro.  My house is within walking distance so the rest of us could go there and use our land line to call their families.

As we traveled towards Alexandria listening to the car radio, we were hearing all the confusing and sometimes inaccurate reports.  Traffic was getting heavy, and our angel was getting worried about getting home to her family.  She asked if we would mind if she dropped us off in Old Town rather than at the Metro.   I knew that she had saved us a lot of walking on a hot day and that we could easily walk from there.  We thanked her profusely as she dropped us off.  I only wish I could have thanked her more.

We were all hot, thirsty, and eager to contact our families.  We found a little shop where we could buy cold drinks and use a pay phone.  I was able to call my husband at home to tell him that I’m OK and will be arriving with friends. We walked to the Metro and checked that it was running through to Maryland.  I gave Shirley money for the ride home and my home phone number in case the Metro stranded her in Virginia and wished her luck. The rest of us continued on foot to my house.

7. How did you feel during and after the evacuation?

I didn’t feel in immediate danger of losing my life at any point.  I did feel shocked at what I saw happening in New York and that a plane crashed into my workplace.  I was relieved that there had been no smoke in the PL even though there was a fire not that far away in the building.  I knew from previous events that there could be a fire in a part of the Pentagon that I was not even aware of till the next day or more.  The building was built during wartime to withstand bombing and to limit damage.  That and its sheer size made me more confident that we could walk out safely. 

I was more concerned after I knew that it was a plane that struck the building and when we were told there was an unaccounted-for plane that might be headed for us.  It was a totally unplanned for type of evacuation so everyone was on their own when we were ordered to get away.  As we were walking, I was thinking how I’d get home if I wasn’t able to go back and find Ann.  Pentagon Metro was out of the question, Pentagon City would have meant going back through the south parking lot to cross under 395, and I wasn’t sure if Metro from Arlington Cemetery would have taken me past the Pentagon to get to Alexandria. I didn’t know the bus routes on streets near the Pentagon. I had used an express bus from Fairlington to the Pentagon on occasion but figured I’d have to change buses in order to get from Arlington to Alexandria. Everything was happening fast. News was sketchy and hard to come by as I walked so evaluating options was very difficult. I really didn’t have time to feel scared because I was trying to figure out what to do. When the wonderful lady offered us a ride, it beat all the options I had in mind.  I was very relieved to know I could get to Alexandria and confident that I’d be able to walk from there. I wasn’t sure what forms of public transportation were working or how well but I can walk 10 miles .

8. What did you do the next day or the next week?

I was told to stay home until notified where to report to work by my supervisor. On the 12th I talked with family and friends who called to see if I was OK, checked in with coworkers to see how they got home, and called a friend who worked across the street from the World Trade Center in NYC.  I don’t recall how long it was till we were told to report to an office building in Crystal City.  When we first arrived at our temporary space in recently vacated offices it had been stripped to the bare concrete floor, walls between rooms were sparse and showed signs that it was expected they would be replaced.  Furniture was an odd assortment of old metal desks and various chairs.  We didn’t have computers or access to internet so couldn’t really accomplish work tasks like database searches or looking for material in the library catalog. We moved several times to different locations in those office buildings as better space was available. Equipment improved and it felt less like being a refugee.

We could not access the library collection in the Pentagon or any personal belongings for 2 months. That part of the building was considered a crime scene and no one was allowed in.  It also took time for an assessment of the building to determine if it was structurally safe. There were fires in the roof area that had to be fought for days and more water was used. 

The PL Director was only able to go into the Library after a few weeks to assess what damage was done.  By that point there was water and mold from the water used to fight the fires. 

9. How were they able to save the materials in the library?  What was saved?  Did you have a role in that?

Most of the Library materials were saved due to the efforts of the PL Director.  She made the case for hiring a firm that specializes in remediation after fires or flooding.  They brought in fans and dehumidifiers to reduce the dampness and stop further mold growth.  I didn’t have any specific role in the efforts.  The PL staff were doing whatever tasks the Director assigned them.  I worked off site at the National Defense University Library for a short while because they offered office space and their computer access until we had that in the Crystal City offices.   

10. How long did it take for you to feel ‘normal’?   When were you first allowed back in the library?  

The Pentagon Library never felt normal to me again. The Library never reopened in the old space in wedge 2 or in the space that was designated in Wedge 1 before 9/11.  I left the Pentagon Library for another job in January 2002.  Books were moved into space in the Crystal City office building as the PL Director wrangled to get space anywhere in the Pentagon to provide service and let our community know we were still able to assist with their information needs.   

I recall that it was about 2 months before people were allowed back to get their purses, car keys, house keys, cell phones and important papers.  It was a hard hat area, no electricity for lights and instructions to not spend any more time than necessary getting only the most important items. Later we were allowed to clear out our desks.

11. Is there anything you would like to share with us about the experience?

I have led a very fortunate life.  From growing up in a loving middle-class family in rural central Pennsylvania, to having a rewarding career doing work I really enjoyed, to good health and good luck in more ways than I can count, I have benefited from circumstances beyond my control. I can’t claim to deserve the luck that allowed me to walk out of the Pentagon and have a total stranger offer me a ride home.  I think of the people who lost their lives, had injuries and a traumatic exit (like my carpool partner Ann), or the horrible journeys that some of my coworkers had getting home. I have no words to express my gratitude for a million things that could have gone wrong that didn’t for me on that memorable day.  My hope is that I can return the favor of the woman who went out of her way to assist strangers.

One way to assist strangers is to remind people to keep their Metro card (your local transit pass) and some form of money with their government badge.  In case you must evacuate quickly you will have means to get home.  If your workplace allows you to keep your phone at your desk or on your person, you may be able to keep your pass and money in your phone case.  Having a plan on how to get home or to some agreed upon meeting place really pays off in an emergency.  I doubt that anyone in Washington, DC expected to have to evacuate their workplace due to an earthquake when one struck in 2011.  Fires, shootings, and other extreme events can and do happen.  Please give some thought to how you could get home if something awful happens or how you would let your family/friends know where you are or where you would go if you can’t contact them by phone or email. Ask your supervisor if you don’t know the evacuation and meet up plan for your workplace.  

9-11 Anectdotes

From Francisco Bravo Cabrera of Omnia Caelum Blogs He used to live in Miami, he has now returned to his native Spain. He was mobilised as a Coast Guard reservist .

I was home. My wife woke me up and told me to rush to the tele. I couldn’t believe it until I got the call telling me I was being mobilised…

From Kim of By Hook or By Crook: Book Review, News, and Other Stuff. retired librarian currently living in Alabama.

I was a children’s librarian and we watched in horror at the events unfolding on the internet as we tried to keep ourselves composed in front of the kids coming in.

From Don of Nemorino. Don was a soldier during Vietnam and now lives in Europe.

He offers an ex-pat view of 9-11

Here’s mine: https://operasandcycling.com/the-afternoon-of-9-11/

From John of Salsaworldtraveler lives in North Carolina and likes to travel extensively.

I was on the way out the door for work when Charlie Gibson announced on Good Morning America that a small plane had collided with the trade center. The full story is below. https://salsaworldtraveler.com/2020/09/11/remembering-my-9-11-experience/

From Malc of Easy Malc who lives in the UK

I was sat in the armchair watching the TV when the first newsflash came up. I sat there glued to the TV for the rest of the day. When I asked if he was in the UK (where he currently lives, he replied. “Yes I was. I was working nightshifts then and I’m not even sure I went to bed that day.”

Don Ostertag of Ostertag: Off Stage served with the 82nd Airborne while in the Army.

I was at the Mpls Orpheum working on the set- up for a week of RIVER DANCE. Some how we managed to get the show up on time.

It was like no other show I ever worked. Prior to it starting the cast came on stage and we all had a moment of silent prayer. During the show there was silence backstage and the audience’s reaction was gentle clapping. I will never forget that performance and I am sure neither will the cast nor the audience.

Bea dM of Writing from My 14th Century currently lives in Italy.

I was in the bank in Rome (Italy) when a friend phoned me. I spent the next 30 hours worried sick about Mima, a great friend of mine who I knew worked in one of the buildings that were hit. Another friend finally sent me a message saying Mima was fine and would contact me soon. Apparently she had decided to quit her job the day before, and had been told to go in on 9/11 “later in the morning” for the paperwork!…..

JeanMarie of JeanMarie Writes is a poet living in North Carolina

I lived in Denver, CO. I overslept that morning and instead of the alarm, the phone rang. It was my mother telling me about the planes, Groggy, it took me a while to get it and then my boss called me telling me I could come in or not. My choice. I did go in but me and my coworkers just sat around with the TV. Still it helped not to be alone.

Derrick Knight of Derrick Knight’s Ramblings is a pensioner who lives with his wife, in a beautiful, bucolic part of the UK.

I was on a commuter train on the way home to Newark, Nottinghamshire, from London, Kings Cross. A number of other commuters were watching on their laptops – I thought it was just another disaster movie.

From Becky Ross Michael of Platform Number 4, Becky Ross Michael, an Author’s Blog. Becky is from Michigan and now lives in Texas.

Sept. 11: I had hurt my back and it was my first day returning to school, teaching. I was only told about what had happened and didn’t see any video until that evening. My husband drove home from out-of-town work several hours away to be with me and had to drive back the very next morning. My daughter called to tell me that she was expecting a baby. Life would begin and go on for some…

When Will the Looney Tunes Stop?

In the real Looney Tunes, Porky Pig has a signature line, ‘Ththththat’s all, folks.”

Mitch McConnell:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday blasted Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s embrace of “loony lies and conspiracy theories” as a “cancer for the Republican Party.”

Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality,” McConnell said in a statement first shared with The Hill. “

I was living near Washington, DC when the plane hit the Pentagon. I saw the huge gash in the side of the Pentagon where the plane hit. At the National Defense University Library, we shared space with the Pentagon Librarians who were temporarily re-assigned there because the Pentagon Library was closed (almost forever) when the nose of the plane affected the rear wall of the library and the resulting moisture created such toxic mold that hundreds of books were damaged and the library was a toxic waste site until it could be cleaned.

One of my best friends was responsible for saving many of the books in the library because she thought to call the experts in book preservation before it was too late. Did you know that freezing the books can halt the build up of mold?

Another friend fractured her foot and had 2nd degree burns on her head and hands escaping from the Pentagon after the plane struck. Several of her friends died from burns or smoke inhalation after the plane struck.

I think most of these conspiracy theories are bunk, but this one I have seen the aftermath for myself.

Do the conspiracy theorists, seemingly smug in their cocoon of superiority, realize that they are defaming or lying about real people who have sustained real injuries?

Escape from the Pentagon

This posting originally appeared three years ago. It’s now been 19 years since 11 September 2001.

e-Quips

Ann-2016On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, Ann Parham arrived early at the Pentagon, like she always did.   As Chief of the Army Library Program, she was responsible for establishing policy for Army Libraries around the world.  She had been stationed in Korea, Germany and the United States.   At fifty-eight, she was at the apex of her 35-year career.  Her beige linen dress, purple silk jacket, and low-heeled beige pumps were professional and practical, well suited to her trim athletic build.

pentagon layoutAnn’s office was in a newly renovated wedge of the Pentagon, iconic home of the Department of Defense. The five-sided Pentagon was made up of five concentric, separated rings and five floors.  The center courtyard was a park-like setting, providing a short cut from one side of the building to the other.  Ten corridors intersected the five rings like spokes on a bicycle wheel.  From the air, the…

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Hero Dogs of 9-11

They love us to death and some die for us too.  Read about these heroic dogs from 9-11, whether trained canine officers or emotional support animals.

Today we remember and honor the Hero Dogs of 9/11 along with the countless people who had their lives irrevocably changed by man’s best friend. From search and rescue dogs to comfort dogs to bomb detection dogs, these canines’ stories of courage, healing and long-lasting legacy must never be forgotten.

I learned about this article from DC Gilbert’s Forever in Our Hearts.

September 11, 2001 Documents from the Library of Congress

Where were you on 9/11? What do you remember most about that day?

I was at work at the National Defense University Library in Washington, DC.  I remember how lovely that Tuesday way,  low humidity, bright sunshine and a feeling that the day could not get any better.

After 7 am, we heard people saying “Turn on the television. A plane has gone into one of the two towers of the World Trade Center.”

We gathered around a television set up in one of the library training rooms. Some of the university administration rushed in and out of the room as they compared what was on television with what they could get officially back on their computers and blackberries.

When another plane hit the second tower, we were confused as to whether this was a second attack or a re-run of the first attack.
After we heard that a plane had hit the Pentagon, they decided to send us all home. Some of us decided to  leave later because of the infamous DC rush hour traffic so we had an impromptu picnic outside.

On my way home, I drove past the Navy Annex while going south on I-395. Seeing the that American flag still waving up the hill while I could see the Pentagon burning in my rear view mirror was one of the most uplifting things I could have seen that dreadful day.

We came to work the next day and waited in long lines outside the gate as four soldiers checked each car inside and out, plus ran a long mirror on a pole to check the undercarriage of each car. (We probably been told not to come into work but nobody thought that far ahead.)

The Library of Congress has  put together an online account of September 11th, memorabilia and documents.

Based on a similar project created after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the September 11, 2001, Documentary Project documents eyewitness accounts, expressions of grief and other commentary on the events of September 11, 2001. Included in this presentation are photographs, drawings, audio and video interviews and written narratives. Of special interest are interviews with people who were in Naples, Italy at the time of the attacks

Escape from the Pentagon

Ann-2016On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, Ann Parham arrived early at the Pentagon, like she always did.   As Chief of the Army Library Program, she was responsible for establishing policy for Army Libraries around the world.  She had been stationed in Korea, Germany and the United States.   At fifty-eight, she was at the apex of her 35-year career.  Her beige linen dress, purple silk jacket, and low-heeled beige pumps were professional and practical, well suited to her trim athletic build.

pentagon layoutAnn’s office was in a newly renovated wedge of the Pentagon, iconic home of the Department of Defense. The five-sided Pentagon was made up of five concentric, separated rings and five floors.  The center courtyard was a park-like setting, providing a short cut from one side of the building to the other.  Ten corridors intersected the five rings like spokes on a bicycle wheel.  From the air, the Pentagon looked like a target, with the courtyard as its bulls-eye.  Ironically, September 11 was the 50th anniversary of the initial groundbreaking ceremony for the Pentagon.

pentagon layour colored.jpg

The sky was a bright blue and the air was clear and crisp.  Ann was working at her desk in the open bay, that she jokingly referred to as Dilbertville, after the cartoon strip.  She heard people talking in the cubicle next to her.

“A plane has hit the World Trade Center Tower!”

Curious, she left her desk and joined four or five of her co-workers who were watching the TV at Marian Serva’s desk.  As they watched the news, a camera panned to a second plane flying directly into the second tower.

“We are at ground zero,” said Marian, a member of the Congressional Liaison group.  Ann would learn later than Marian was burned during the plane crash and died at her desk.

Pentagon-damaged wall“This is war,” replied Ann, as she stood with her back to the D-Ring offices and the outer most E-Ring. Being this close to the outer-ring makes me nervous. She decided to return to her desk.

She remained at her desk a few minutes to gather up some papers she needed to fax to Fort Benning, Georgia.  Returning down the aisle of cubicles from the fax machine, she had reached the support pillar at the end of the aisle near her desk when she felt the building shake.  A plane’s hit the Pentagon.  It was 9:37 a.m. when the plane struck the outer ring on Pentagon’s west side.

pentagon--area of impact           The force of the impact knocked her to the floor amidst falling pieces of ceiling tile. We are under attack.  The concussion blast knocked out the lights and turned on the sprinklers.   Ceiling tile hit her on the head—she would find some of it later in her jacket pocket.  She smelled burning hair.  Her face, eyes and the backs of her hands felt burned, but it was too dark to see them.  She put her hand protectively on the top of her head.  She realized that her hair, short brown, with red highlights, was singed.  Her hair was wet and smelled like kerosene.  Some of the drops fell on the front of her beige dress. Wonder what this is?  Later, she would discover they were a mixture of jet fuel and sprinkler water.  Out of the corner of her eye, she saw flames in the north-east corner of the room along the E ring wall.  The heat was intense, burning her right ear.  Oxygen was being sucked out of the air.  If I don’t move I will be burned or suffocate.  My mother will not be happy to get that news so I better get out of here.  Thoughts of her mother motivated her to keep moving.

   Beige dress with fuel and water marks.  Blue jacket with burn marks

Ann's remaining shoe Ann felt her way out of the room, running her hand along the cubicle desks and inching through the white haze. This seems like I’m in a fog.   She hobbled along wearing one shoe. She had somehow lost her left pump and the little toe on her right foot hurt.  Her pantyhose had shredded when she fell.   Should I remove my shoe?  No!  Is this where I will die?  Need to keep moving.

                                                                                             Ann’s remaining beige pump

 Although there had been people in the open bay before the plane crashed, where is everyone?    I feel alone.    Patrick was just at his desk.

Patrick was a civilian information specialist whose cubicle was next to Ann’s.  He was in his late forties and a former Army officer.

“Patrick,” she called as she stumbled.  The silhouette of a military officer beckoned to her.  It seems like a light at the end of a tunnel.

Patrick approached, taking her right arm.  They continued toward the door together.   Patrick’s white dress shirt, dark pants and tie were covered in liquid.  His arms were red and burned.

Later Patrick would tell her “Ann, I saw you silhouetted against the flames when you called me and I turned back.”

From the E-ring, they walked the length of the open bay (the equivalent of the D and C rings –about the length of twenty 6-foot wide cubicles.)  Making a dogleg turn to the right, they entered the fourth corridor for about twenty feet.  As they exited into the corridor, they quickly passed an officer lying face down under a fire hydrant.  A few people stood around the officer.

After they passed the downed officer, the two turned left into the second bay that took them to the A-ring, the Pentagon’s shortest way around.   I feel more relieved away from that fire.

“Patrick, my face, eyes, and hands are burning so badly that I want to go to the restroom to wash.”

“We need to keep walking.  We have to get out of the building.”  He made no mention of his own burned arms.

Pentagon--overhead view of the damage“Let’s not go to the courtyard.  I’m afraid there might be a second plane that could hit us.”   Patrick agreed.

They started to walk toward the Mall entrance, but it was packed with dozens of people. Nobody was running in panic; people were walking with a purpose.  Some people were burnt and tattered like Ann and Patrick.  Some of these people look like it’s just a fire drill.

“This crowd of people is making me claustrophobic,” she said.  “Let’s try the River Entrance.”  The River Entrance was on the north-east side of the Pentagon, which was opposite from where the plane had hit..

“I’m never going back in that building.”  By now they had walked almost half way around the Pentagon, about one half mile.

pentagon--people outsideAs they walked through the River entrance, Ann did not want to look at people.  Seeing them react to the way I look would scare me even more.  She could hear people talking, but did not catch anything they actually said. The back of her purple jacket was scorched and torn.  Patricks’ white shirt was wet from the sprinklers and torn; his arms were red with burns. They continued across the parade ground on the Potomac River side, down to the road.  Cars were parked haphazardly.

Ann did not remember who directed her and Patrick toward the Defense Protective Service, which was the Pentagon police force.  One of the police officers tried to find them an ambulance.  When he could not find one, he put them into his Defense Protective Service car and drove them to Alexandria Hospital.  The Pentagon was about 6 miles north of the hospital, along Interstate 395.  Ann used to live near the Hospital and tried to give the officer directions.  I am so agitated right now, those directions aren’t right.  This is taking too long.

As soon as they got to the hospital, she sprung open the door and ran into the hospital Emergency RoomPatrick followed her at a walk.

“We’re from the Pentagon,” she said.  The emergency room personnel took one look at the two of them, smelled the jet fuel, and sent them to the decontamination showers.  My DoD identification badge has curled from the fire. My eyesight is almost normal as soot washed out of her eyes.  She found out she had second degree burns on her face and hands.  Her little toe was broken and she had a gash on the top of her foot.  Her ear was badly burned and she had lost a two inch patch of hair on her head.

It was now about 9:45 a.m. and they were the first people from the Pentagon to arrive at the hospital.