Pentagon Survivor Visits East Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/12/04-Tyler

Pentagon Survivor Visits East Texas

September 11th, 2001 will forever be remembered as one of the most tragic days in our country's history.  As most of us watched as terrorist led attacks on our country, Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Clemons was living the terror.

Clemons was inside the Pentagon, working just 50 yards from where the plane hit.  Sunday, he told his story to a crowd at New Life Worship Center in Tyler.

"As soon as it hit the building I knew what had happened and it wasn't a joke."

As an Army Lieutenant, Clemons had never been accustom to doing things without a plan.  But the events of September 11th, 2001 were something no one at the Pentagon or anywhere else that morning, could have ever planned for.

"Before I even saw it, by the time I got to the corner of the building, the part we came out of, I ended up tripping over an airplane part."

Clemons' office was located just 50 yards from where the plane entered the Pentagon.  The location put him in the middle of a disaster.

"You're trying to deal with all your emotions at the same time and then within that 30 minute time frame that's when we got the word that there was another plane headed for D.C. and we didn't know where it was coming from."

After contacting his wife and child by phone, Clemons' thoughts shifted.  A military man used to helping others was on this day left helpless.

"The thing that really got to me was knowing there were people in the building that couldn't make it out, you heard the screams, you heard the cries but you couldn't do anything."

Clemons was just one of many workers that returned to the Pentagon the very next day.  In the months that followed, the rebuilding effort became a daily reminder of the attacks.  Attacks Clemons says, American's should never forget.

"I want to remember what happened that day and why it happened," he said  "Alot of folks have just gone about business as usual and haven't really thought about it but for those of us who still have to deal with it every day we're constantly on the lookout."

Clemons continued to work at the Pentagon until June of 2002.  He is currenlty attending "National War College" in Washington D.C.

Chris Gibson, reporting
cgibson@klv.com

Powered by Frankly