Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Lest we forget

Monday, September 11, 2017
Agents from several federal agencies, fire fighters, rescue workers and engineers work at the Pentagon crash site on Sep. 14, 2001, where a hijacked American Airlines flight slammed into the building on Sep. 11. The terrorist attack caused extensive damage to the west face of the building and followed similar attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. American Airlines FLT 77 was bound for Los Angeles from Washington Dulles with 58 passengers and 6 crew. All aboard the aircraft were killed, along with 125 people in the Pentagon.
Department of Defense photo by Tech Sgt. Cedric H. Rudisill

To the editor:

I can still smell and see the smoke that rose from the Pentagon that day 16 years ago. As we put together criminal forensics teams to respond to and process what amounted to a very large crime scene at the Pentagon, there was much chaos around DC. Cell towers and even regular phone line trunks were overloaded so it was difficult to communicate. Reports of other supposed attacks in the DC area were constantly coming into our federal law enforcement control center and were also being reported on the news. One of our special agents and a friend of mine happened to have been in the Pentagon at the time of the attack and had taken pictures of the destroyed plane inside of the building. He brought them to our control center within hours of the attack. Those graphic images have always been a reminder for me how vicious and determined the enemies of freedom are.

It is critical for the long term survival of our free republic that our citizens understand this determination. 9-11 should be a day of remembering this and the over 3,000 persons who died on our home soil that day, many of them trying to save others. We have all heard many times over the past 16 years that freedom is not free....it costs dearly to preserve our freedom. Thousands more in our armed services have give the ultimate sacrifice since that day defending our nation. It is important for our enemies to understand that we are just as determined to protect our freedoms. The first counterattack against the enemies of freedom was actually launched that very day in the skies over PA by a small group of ordinary Americans with the command....let's roll. Lest we forget.

Scott L. Johnson, Director

Bedford County Emergency Management and Homeland Security

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