There was a ceremony at Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center on Thursday commemorated the 10th anniversary of September 11th. On that day in 2001, nearly 30 Crane employees were preparing to begin a daylong workshop at the Pentagon.
None of them expected what would happen next.
“At that point, really what went through my mind was we in the Pentagon might be the next target,” Technical Director Duane Embry remembered. “Not too long after that, the entire building lifted up, the room filled with putrid, white smoke and we had been hit.”
The left wing of American Airlines Flight 77 crashed through the building, directly underneath where the group was meeting. Fighting thick smoke, no light and navigating a maze-like building, Crane Business Operations Manager Dustin Wilson says all he could think about was his family.
“It was about 2 hours before I actually got back to my hotel, got a landline phone and was able to really hear my wife’s voice on the other end,” he said. “About all I could say was “I’m OK. I’m fine.’”
The message of the morning’s service was “never forget.”