| From classbrain.com|
Sept. 11th, 2001
"I called work, and told them I was coming in and drove to the Pentagon. I was standing right there, about a hundred yards away. So I parked the truck and started running directly towards the building, and right about when I needed to make a turn to go in the building, I heard an aircraft. I saw the airplane come in very low, very fast, it was accelerating and the wheels were up, he said. I recognized what was happening, there wasn't any doubt in my mind what I was watching. I started running towards the building. There were some construction workers going the other way, people were saying get away from the building, because they thought maybe a secondary explosion or what not.
He was the first rescuer into the building, through a door that had been blown off its hinges. The room he entered was very dark.
As you walked away from the door, and whatever light was coming through the door from the outside, it was almost like stepping out of a spotlight on a stage into the darkness on either end. I could hear people inside moaning, asking for help, he said. Immediately I came upon a woman who had been very badly burned on her face and her hands. And I took her under her arm, which was probably the only place I felt I could touch her, walked back out the door, back outside. There was a police officer who had pulled up his car on the grass at this point. And I went back inside the building.
The worst feeling was you couldn't touch people because the skin came off in your hands. Any way you would normally reach for someone, any way you would normally try to effect movement, you couldn't. So it was very difficult. I never pulled anyone in uniform out of the building. Every person I saw who was either dead or badly wounded was a civilian worker. All but one were female.
At some point, I don't know when, they told us to get away from the building, they thought there was a larger fire burning above us that we couldnt see. And at that point, I needed to get out because I couldn't breathe anymore.
Captain Leibner was made to go to the hospital for treatment for cuts and burns. He returned to the Pentagon later, and along with the rest of his communications office, worked through the smoke and chaos of the next 24 hours, and in the days since. He later learned that he had lost friends in the attack. He didnt return to the scene of the devastation until nearly a month later. The morning of September 11 continues to play in his mind, he says.
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