9/11 Pentagon survivor tells his story 16 years later - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

9/11 Pentagon survivor tells his story 16 years later

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16 years ago a terrorist attack rocked the United States killing nearly 3,000 people. It seems everyone has a story from 9/11. KULR 8's Melissa Scavelli lived in the DC metro area at the time.

Melissa was a first grader at the time who's uncle was working in the Pentagon. Melissa spoke with her uncle, Bob Panek, and he shared his story.

Bob Panek said, "At the time I was working for the Navy at the Pentagon as a Deputy Director in the budget office for the Navy. Where my particular office was, was exactly where the building collapsed. We were blown out of our chairs and of course, at the time we didn't know it was a plane. My coworkers and I had just watched videos of the World Trade Center before heading into our meeting. In my office, there was an expansion joint right in from of my desk and that's where the building collapsed. We found ourselves without an office, without a home. We had just moved 100 people into that space. That renovated space 6 months earlier.

We picked ourselves up off the floor and ran to the inner courtyard of the Pentagon then were herded outside of the Pentagon. There were pieces of the building and pieces of the plane scattered around in that area. There were people coming out bleeding and in pretty bad shape. Communication was lost in the panic as the phone lines were over worked."

Susan Panek was working as a teacher in Fairfax County, Virginia at the time. She said this about that day, "I was worried all day because teachers knew and I could not contact Bob at all and finally my secretary came down about 2:30 quarter to 3 and all she could say was your husband is fine."

Bob could not get to his section of the Pentagon for days. He continued, " about a week later we were able to get into my particular office and there was about 6 feet left of it. So there was about 6 feet left of my office. Everything was completely burned out and I did find a glob of metal on the floor that I'm pretty sure my keys. Everything else was gone. When you walked through the door you had 6 feet then you were staring into space."

Bob detailed how he and his coworkers were moved to Crystal City, VA for about 7 months before returning to the Pentagon. He said they were purposely moved to a different area of the Pentagon.

16 years later Bob said " I fear something like that will happen again. It may not be a plane it could be something else and these things run in cycles. It isn't the place that worries me; an attack can happen anywhere."

After 16 years he said, "You get numb to it. I don't think people have forgotten. I don't think it's in people's consciousness as it used to be. The country's been very lucky that we haven't suffered anything of that magnitude since then."

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