ALEXANDRIA, VA (WUSA9) - It has been 15 years since terrorists ripped a gaping hole in the Pentagon, stripped the twin towers from the New York City skyline and crashed a plane into an open field in Pennsylvania.
On Saturday, Old Town Alexandria took time to remember the day so many lives were changed forever.
There are fewer reminders of the horrific attack: less bumper stickers tagging cars with phrases like, “We Will Always Remember,” less troops being deployed.
There are now high schoolers who were not yet born that day. Yet so many of the hundreds that attended the memorial ceremony remember exactly what they were doing that day.
“It was a beautiful bright morning and suddenly my office and the world was engulfed in flames,” said retired Lt. Gen. Bob Wood.
He worked inside the Pentagon on 9/11. The blast from the plane threw him from his desk chair and trapped him inside his office.
“Everything was hot and smoke was coming in from all sides,” Wood said. “I was looking out the window at black smoke.”
His office window was the first window not to break in that area of the building.
As flames and smoke engulfed the Pentagon, Wood’s executive assistant stood her ground. She grabbed everybody she could to bang her boss’s door down.
“About 10 minutes after I got out, the whole area behind the wall where I was sitting collapsed,” Wood said.
The retired general joined other city officials on stage and ring the bell five times. It was their way of paying respects to the fallen.
The choir sang, “God Bless America,” as the nation’s flag waved at half-staff. Amazing grace burst through the bag pipes.