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From the Ashes of the Pentagon

Image: Pentagon

US Navy Chief Petty Officer Tim Crum, age 31, arrived at his newly-renovated office on the fourth floor of the E Ring of the Pentagon on the morning of September 11, 2001.  He emptied the contents of his pockets into his desk drawer in the Navy’s Space, Information Warfare, Command and Control Directorate (OPNAV N6) in preparation for his morning workout at the Pentagon Athletic Center.  A black-and-white family photo lay forgotten in the bottom of the drawer.  

Just before 9 AM, Chief Crum’s routine day became anything but routine when he learned that a plane had flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.  As he watched CNN’s live coverage of the event, a second aircraft struck the South Tower.  He returned to his desk and sat down thinking he was in “the safest place in the world.”  Suddenly Crum was thrown onto the floor by the energy of American Airlines Flight 77 impacting the Pentagon two floors below his office.   He saw an enormous orange fireball through windows that overlooked the Pentagon’s helicopter pad as his darkened office filled with smoke.

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