ALEXANDRIA, VA - Several dozen people gathered on Old Town Alexandria’s Market Square Saturday afternoon for a service commemorating the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
"It does not matter that it occurred 15 years ago. People still discuss where they were and what they were doing on September 11, 2001,” said Alexandria Police Department Deputy Chief David Huchler as he addressed the crowd.
One of those who spoke was in the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building.
“I was completing some morning work and I just finished talking to my daughter, and reassuring her, she has seen the first plane hit the tower,” said Lt. Gen. Bob Wood, U.S. Army, retired. "Just about the time I hung up, the plane hit about 50 feet behind my head and about 20 feet below."
Wood said his office was filling with smoke but he couldn’t get out because the door
“The people who were in my office, broke down the door. And together we gathered all the people that were in the office, accounted for everybody and moved out and continued on with all the things we, frankly, had been trained to do,” added Wood.
After the speeches, several dignitaries and members of the color guard took turns ringing a large bell five times each. The significance of the gesture goes back over a century with fire departments, as the ringing of a bell five times signified a fallen firefighter. This time, it was used to pay tribute to all the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
For those in attendance, they said the events of that day should never be forgotten, nor how the country responded.
"As a community we came together. I think we should celebrate and remember the way we all were one that day,” said Wood.