I was supposed to be in the Pentagon seven years ago today — I’d been in the SecDef’s Executive Support Center the day before, with some old colleagues — but an appointment with the senior military officer in my new office kept me in Alexandria. (My wife seemed very relieved to hear my voice on the phone in the afternoon.) I wouldn’t have been in the impact zone, and doubtless would’ve evacuated with everyone else had I been there. I can’t say that my Air Force career would’ve ended up much differently either way.
My retirement ceremony was in the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Chapel, right near where the plane hit the building. It was difficult to choose to retire during the war, and I still second-guess myself sometimes; but I wasn’t in a position to fight, and I chose to go out while I was as close to the top as I’d ever get.
To those still in the fight, and those who have lost loved ones in the fight — military or civilian, combatant or bystander — I salute you.
LATE ADDITION: Haunting NASA image of the burning World Trade Center as seen from the International Space Station, with commentary.
And I have to wonder why Google didn’t have a 9/11-related image on their site today.by