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RICK "SHAQ" GOLDSTEIN SAYS: "THE INSTANT ITS NOSE STRUCK THE OUTER WALL OF THE PENTAGON, FLIGHT 77 CEASED TO BE AN AIRPLANE!",
This review is from: Firefight: Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11 (Hardcover)
"THE NOSE OF THE PLANE HIT THE FACADE JUST BELOW THE TOP OF THE FIRST STORY, ABOUT 14 FEET ABOVE THE GROUND, GOING 530 MILES PER HOUR. A DEAFENING BOOM SHOOK THE MORNING AS A VIOLENT CONCUSSION TORE THROUGH THE AIR, JARRING BYSTANDERS. THE COLLISION PRODUCED A FORCE ON THE PASSENGERS FAR GREATER THAN THAT FROM ANY HIGH-SPEED CAR CRASH. PEOPLE BECAME PROJECTILES. BONE SEPARATED FROM FLESH. BODY PARTS FLEW AS IF FIRED FROM A CANNON."
September 11, 2001 the day America was violently and savagely attacked by terrorists on its own soil in the Continental United States. A preponderance of all the publicity that has followed the multiple attacks has been directed toward the World Trade Centers. After all, that was the first attack and had many more casualties, and the Pentagon which manages our worldwide military forces, has uncounted security issues, which by all common sense should not have as free access by the outside world. And that's what makes this book by author's Patrick Creed and Rick Newman even more remarkable in its detail and scope.
When the Pentagon's design was unveiled in 1941, "its size and secrecy had made it one of the most intriguing buildings in the world. The structure was notoriously huge - its SIX MILLION SQUARE FEET of office space was three times larger than the Empire State Building." After the crash of Flight 77, fire crews were alerted from all over the Washington area, and as they all headed to the Pentagon, many of the men and women involved weren't even aware of what had transpired at the World Trade Centers. From this point out is where this story will add another dimension to every American's memory of this historical day of terrorist evil. When you are done reading this testimony to the way America's citizens, including but not limited to Firemen, Military, FBI, FEMA, construction workers, crane operators, policemen, and everyday American citizens, responded to our countries darkest hour, you will forever be able to see a `GIANT-SILVER-SIDE" to this dark cloud of cowardice against our citizens. I purposely said "SILVER-SIDE" instead of "lining", because the way our beloved American's performed was too bright to be nothing but a lining.
As the Firemen arrived at the scene there were people running in and out of buildings, fire and smoke billowing to the sky, portions of the Pentagon were destroyed, multiple floors had pancaked down upon each other, and some floors were hanging by unknown forces. There were critically injured and burned people in need of immediate medical attention. Captain Jennifer Glidewell, an Army nurse along with an assistant tried to give medical care right in the main court yard. As things slowed down for a moment, a scene played out that made me proud to be an American, and I believe set an example for the type of spirit and teamwork that America needed to recover and fight back as a country. A man approached Captain Glidewell in a blue Air Force uniform. He was THREE-STAR-GENERAL P.K. Carlton, who was the Surgeon General of the Air Force, the service's top doctor who was at a meeting on the other side of the Pentagon when the building shook. He didn't know what had happened. General Carlton was on the way to the clinic to see if he could help. "On the way, he ran into two burn victims, their clothes and skin smoldering. Carlton was wearing a flame-retardant vest, and he hugged each of them to put out the remaining fire." "By the time Carlton found Glidewell, most of the initial urgent care patients had been evacuated." "An enlisted man came racing out of the building and said: "General, if you want to see where the dying is, come with me." The General said, "I'm going in!"
Craig Powell was a Navy Seal at the Pentagon in civilian clothes when the plane hit. He saw two women on the second floor trapped by fire. He had no way of reaching them to get them out. Craig gathered several people around and told them to form a human net. Five or six people gathered around and put out their arms. Powell told the first lady to jump and "the moment she jumped, however, the human net disintegrated. Some of the people jumped back; human instinct, Powell knew. Unless you were trained for it, it was extremely difficult to overcome bodily instincts and stand in the path of a heavy object descending upon you." "The woman ended up coming straight down at Powell, who caught her by the hips and brought her to the ground, roughly but safely. A second woman appeared in the window. "Come on!" Powell shouted, even though he was now a one-man net. As she climbed out, he could see that she was very large. "Oh man," he said, preparing himself. "This is gonna suck."
There are countless individual stories of heroism, bravery, street-sense-survival, and more than anything, the absolute refusal to give-up. The problems and humongous obstacles that are encountered, range from "BLAST-RESISTANCE-WINDOWS" that had been installed in most of the Pentagon's windows, and in many cases it's a shame they worked. Employees couldn't get out through them and Firemen couldn't get in. They also had the laws of Physics working against them. The fire was well over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit... water turns to steam at 212 degrees Fahrenheit... at 1,000 degrees water can EVAPORATE IN MID-AIR! It was so hot that cement was melting from the ceilings.
Incredibly, right when the workers are finally making headway, they get ordered to evacuate the Pentagon because they are told a second high-jacked plane is within twenty minutes of Washington D.C. The tale is so gripping that the reader almost forgets that "we" (readers) historically know what happened to that plane, and yet, you're literally on the edge of your seat as shaken as the workers.
In addition to all the physical issues, there was also the problem of protecting documents that were "MORE" classified than top-secret! The military had over 300 classified safes that had either melted closed so the combinations wouldn't work, or they were (just like you see in the movies) safes that needed two people to open, and one of the people were dead or missing. And the deeper into the firefight and salvaging the Pentagon they got, the more pieces of human bodies they would find, often in heart-breaking-gut-wrenching condition. As I read this book, I was so engrossed in this unrelenting story, that when I had already read over one hundred pages, I couldn't believe that the story had only reached the first two hours after the crash. This narrative, will literally transport you from wherever you are reading it, into the inferno at the Pentagon. The best compliment I can give to the author's, is to relate a sports analogy: When you go to a ballgame, when it's over, if you don't even remember anything about the umpires or referees, they've done a great job, because the game isn't about them. This book is so well written, and so finely researched and documented, that you never even think about the writing style... because you are "THERE!"
THIS IS A LANDMARK EPIC BOOK! CONGRATULATIONS TO THE AUTHORS!