September 10, 2013
An Unsung American Hero...
The following is a re-post from last year. This day will always bring sadness and memories that forever changed this country. It was also a day that brought out the very best in Americans, causing political and social lines to blur as one. I hope you enjoy this story because it is one of courage and bravery.
September 11th carries with it painful memories for America. It was the first time for many that we experienced terrorism on our own soil. Families were shattered, communities mourned the premature loss of lives, and children were left behind with questions that we still struggle to answer.
Soon after the towers fell, the Pentagon received a direct hit. As the employees evacuated the building so well known for housing our country's highest levels of military defense, flames and jet fuel filled the walls of the Pentagon, causing an immediate wall of thick black smoke to funnel through the hallways. Rather than instinctively running away from the scene, one brave man ran toward the gaping hole where American Airlines Flight 77 rested in an inferno. He is the husband of a very dear friend of mine, and is the kind of guy who should be forever revered for his heroism, but would never be caught boasting about his moment of greatness. In fact, he would probably roll his eyes and shake his head if he knew I was writing about him on this 12th anniversary of September 11th.
Here's how it went down. Plane hits the Pentagon. All employees filtered outside as a direct order from the powers that be. Navy Commander Dave Tarantino, who has a medical degree and many years of international military experience, believed he could be of assistance to those impacted by the crash. Rather than evacuating with the rest of his colleagues, he put a wet rag over his face and found his way to the outermost ring of the building. Jet fuel and metal rained from above and smoke made it nearly impossible to navigate his way to the scene. As he yelled for survivors, he heard a voice. It was the voice of Jerry Henson, a retired naval aviator leading a team of seven at the Pentagon, coordinating emergency relief efforts for the Navy. After the initial impact, he was pinned under his desk by a mountain of rubble, and was falling in and out of consciousness due to the heavy smoke. Knowing that they had only a few minutes at the most, Dave laid down on his back, managed to push the wall of debris with his legs, allowing just enough room for Henson to free himself. They both miraculously escaped the scene with few physical injuries. Although, it was soon after that the entire area collapsed behind them.
There were numerous stories of heroic efforts on that horrible September day. Another reminder that when the chips are down, American citizens find a way to rise to the occasion and help their brothers and sisters in need. A reminder to all as we navigate our way through each day that it shouldn't take a catastrophic event to reach out to someone in need.
Thank you, Dave. For your heroism and for your service to this country. You're also just a super nice guy.