Sept. 11, 2001 – Remembering when the towers fell

By | September 6, 2018 8:06 am

Arlington, Va. (Sep. 14, 2001). Agents from several federal agencies, firefighters, rescue workers and engineers work at the Pentagon crash site on Sep. 14, 2001, where a hijacked American Airlines flight slammed into the building on Sep. 11. The terrorist attack caused extensive damage to the west face of the building and followed similar attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. American Airlines FLT 77 was bound for Los Angeles from Washington Dulles with 58 passengers and 6 crew. All aboard the aircraft were killed, along with 125 people in the Pentagon. DoD photo by Tech. Sgt. Cedric H. Rudisill. (RELEASED)

Lt. Col. Al Klee, U.S. Army, ret.

Just like the Kennedy assassination, almost everyone can remember where they were when the planes went through the World Trade Center towers, on Sept. 11, 2001.

Some could not believe it was happening, while others were there in the midst of the chaos and devastation. When asked if anything was different at the courthouse on the day that it happened, newly elected county court clerk Sasha Wilson, who was an assistant in the clerk’s office at the time, said nothing was out of the ordinary that day.

“I was on my way to work when I heard it on the radio that the Twin Towers had been hit,” said Wilson. “When I got to work I told Connie [Jolley] about it, and we watched it on the computer. We watched it all day long.”

While most of the news footage was focused on the World Trade Center, in New York City, there was not a lot of mention about the third and forth planes that also went down that day, one of them, Flight 77, hitting the west face of the Pentagon, in Washington D.C. Present at the Pentagon that day was Sparta resident and former county commissioner Al Klee.

“When we were attacked at the Pentagon, we had already been involved with dealing with what had happened in New York City,” said Klee. “So we already had a heightened sense of alertness. Security, of course, at the Pentagon was tight, as always. When we got hit, we had a really good idea what had happened, even for those of us who worked deep underground.”

The crash of Flight 77 killed all 59 people on board and approximately 125 military and civilian personnel inside the Pentagon. Klee went on to say that emotions were running high in the building, and he recalled being angry about what was happening. Being well versed in the training for these types of situations, Klee and his fellow Pentagon employees knew that they had to follow procedures.

“I was very angry when I realized we had been attacked,” stated Klee. “The bulk of us were ready to fight and go after the terrorists. Instead, we all had been well trained on how to evacuate the building, so, when given the order, that’s what we did.”

Within a half hour of Flight 77 crashing, passengers on board Flight 93, which had already been highjacked, were informed about the planes hitting the Twin Towers, and they attempted to take back control of the airplane. The plane crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 40 passengers and crew members.

After 15 years since the attack, Americans are still untrusting and have a heightened sense of awareness about terrorist attacks. Security has been, and continues to be, ramped up, especially at airports. Now the area of concern seems to be focused on cyber security, since it was through emails and open internet use that mobilized the hijackers on 9/11.

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