September 11th started as a normal day for Army Col. Roy Wallace, except his office was in the Pentagon. Any sense of normalcy disappeared when hijackers on American Flight 77 made it their target.
"I've had a lot of artillery shells land around me, and I've never heard anything like the sound of that day. It was earth shattering," he says.
It shattered life as Col. Wallace knew it. Flight 77 drove through three of the five Pentagon rings.
"It physically knocked me out of my chair, and as I was going over backwards, I noticed the windows being blown out."
He was in the middle ring. Fire and smoke was everywhere, and he and others rushed to save anyone they could.
"If anybody was there and they could hear us they were to come to us, that was the way out."
Some made it, 125 co-workers didn't.
"I was supposed to be back in his [my boss's] office around 10 o'clock, and then at 9:37 the plane struck the Pentagon, it drove right through my boss's office where I would have been in another 20 minutes."
Colonel Wallace knows there was something more than luck, that he and hundreds of others happened to be away from the impact at that moment.
"Those people weren't there for whatever reason, depending on what you believe, you have to believe there was something looking over people that day."
Now he looks at memories, a melted clock, things from his office scorched. And he says America burns brightly with a new resolve. Taking charge instead of being controlled.
"Now that we're aware we can do what those people did in that plane in Pennsylvania."