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Lieutenant Colonel Dana Bourne could see the flames and smoke from across the Potomac River. She immediately called with her husband, who was already on her way to the Pentagon’s day care center to rescue their two children. They were 3 years and 4 months old respectively.

“I don’t know if my husband called me or I called him, but we talked on the phone,” said the retired Air Force brig. The general told Granthshala News. “All I said was, ‘The Pentagon has been hit.'”

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“He said, ‘I’m on my way,’ which told me he was going to figure out how to have the kids,” she continued. “And then I went into commander mode with my team, which is what we trained to do.”

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Lieutenant Colonel Tim Bourne made it to the Pentagon and was directed where the day care center was relocated after the evacuation. The director of the day care center would later describe the rescue: Service members of each military branch crib with multiple infants, went hand in hand with confused and stunned children and made sure each child was safe in less than an hour. Be.

Biden to visit New York City, Pennsylvania, Pentagon on 9/11

Born daughters, now 23 and 20, both grew up and joined the US military.

His mother Dana, who was then commanding the 11th Mission Support Squadron at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, DC, was holding a staff meeting across the Potomac River from the Pentagon when the third hijacked plane struck the Pentagon. Gave.

“It was a beautiful morning, as beautiful as they come, blue skies, and look how things went,” Dana told Granthshala News in an interview.

‘In each cradle there was a cradle ring with two or three little babies’

Tim Bourne, who had dropped off the girls that morning, was watching news coverage of the attacks on the Twin Towers in the conference room of his office.

“About 30 minutes into the broadcast they reported an explosion at the Pentagon,” he told Granthshala News.

“I didn’t wait for the details,” Tim said. “I ran to my office to get my car keys and as I was walking out the door, the phone rang and my wife was on the phone.”

“The only thing he said was, ‘You have to get the kids, the Pentagon got hit,'” he said.

It took him 45 minutes to navigate the traffic to reach the Pentagon, but by the time Tim arrived, armed guards told him the day care had already been evacuated and moved half a mile north of the building. was done.

Smoke rises from the E-ring southwest of the Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia, on September 11, 2001, when a plane crashed into the building and caused a major explosion.

The frantic father spent another 15 minutes searching, until he was finally given a moment of relief.

“It’s a scene I’ll never forget as long as I live,” Tim said.

“Behind me was total destruction, chaos and death,” he told Granthshala News. “And in front of me, on the banks of the Potomac, a small tributary called the Boundary Channel, they had re-established the Pentagon Day Care and had a ring of cradles with two or three small babies in each crib.”

Hannah, who graduated from the Air Force Academy last year, told Granthshala News: “I remember my dad coming to pick up my sister and I woke up and we went out and stayed with a co-worker.”

“My memories of 9/11 are a bit fractured since I was so young,” the second lieutenant continued, though she said she vividly remembers the chaos and confusion of that day.

However, relief for Dana had not yet been determined. She didn’t know her daughters were safe until nine hours after the attack on the Pentagon.

Bourne said, “In those nine hours, maybe deep down I was worried, but my role was as commander and I had to stay in that role.”

Tim Bourne recalled returning to the day care center three days later to thank the director for getting the kids a safe place. He also asked her how she was able to get everyone out so soon.

“He literally indicated that as soon as the plane hit, there was a loud bang on the door,” he said. The day care director then went to the glass door and “met with a sea of ​​uniforms. Coast Guard people, Marines, Airmen, Navy, Soldiers.”

“He opened the door and there was a Marine right dead center,” Tim continued. “They said four words: ‘How can we help?'”

Service members evacuated the day care center and ensured the safety of each child in less than an hour.

“My wife and I are grateful to have this day,” Tim told Granthshala News.

The couple didn’t know the identities of any of the service members involved in the rescue until about a year ago, when Hannah received an email from an officer who had helped clear the day care center.

“He was just curious what happened to those kids, just as we were curious what happened to the service members who did,” Tim said.

Like countless Americans, the influence of September 11 Born families are deep and long lasting.

Dana, who was considering retiring at the time of the attack, remained in the Air Force until 2013, marking 30 years of service. Tim Bourne decided to retire to stay home and support his young daughters who suffered psychological trauma from the attack.

“What changed in me as a result of 9/11? I think it’s really just a clarity of the fact that freedom is not free,” Dana told Granthshala News. “9/11 is a memory of the lives lost, gratitude for those who have harmed themselves and a reminder to always be vigilant and to recognize that we want to be trusted but verify that we defend our freedoms.” are doing.”

And 20 years later, both Hannah and Heather have chosen the path of military service as a result of that day.

“I have even more memories in the years after how my parents talked to us about 9/11 and helped shape our outlook on it and communicating to us the importance of those events. How not to get caught up in the trauma, but to reshape it in a way that inspired both my sister and I to serve,” Hannah, 23, told Granthshala News.

Heather, 20, is in her third year at the Naval Academy. Although she doesn’t have memories of that day, she said that the effects of 9/11 helped her pursue a career in the military.

“I am proud to be here and to have the opportunity to live a life full of purpose and to be dedicated to honoring those whose lives were forever changed until that day,” Heather told Granthshala News.

Tenny Sahakian is an Associate Producer/Writer for Granthshala News and Granthshala Business. Follow Tenysahakian on Twitter at @tenysahakian. If you have a tip, you can email Teny at [email protected]