Reflections by Ophelia Beier, 9/11 Pentagon survivor

Palm Coast, FL

Reflections by Ophelia Beier 9/11/2021

Tuesday morning started off to be a beautiful morning. The sun was shining. I was getting ready for work at the Pentagon as a Department of the Army budget analyst.
Little did I realize that Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, would be the last day for 34 of my co-workers to witness life. Little did we realize in America that in a matter of minutes there would be the most horrific attack of terrorism America had ever seen.
As I was running inside the Pentagon, I heard a voice telling me not to run to trouble. I didn’t understand what was happening to me at first, but the voice said to turn around and go back. The voice was low and audible. Confused and shaken, I turned around and went in the opposite direction. Five minutes later American Airlines 77 crashed into the area where I just stood, killing 34 of my co-workers.
I remember 20 years ago as the events of September 2001 unfolded, our nation’s leaders gathered on the steps of our Capitol, joined hands and sang “God bless America” together. We must never forget.
Despite our shared grief in the aftermath of 9/11, hope, resilience, prayer, and unity lifted us up as a nation. Twenty years later, these lessons are more important than ever.
The events of Sept. 11 are etched in my heart and mind. The horrible memories of personal tragedy and suffering will never really go away. As well they shouldn’t. As Americans we were all gratified to see so many of our national, state and local leaders openly participate in prayer services and calling upon people of faith to pray for victims’ families and survivors.
We all live in hope. Well, I believe there is hope today, globally and locally. Hope for our nation, our community and personally. It has been stated that individuals who were most resilient after Sept. 11 were those who were part of tight-knit communities and neighborhoods. It takes the support of good friends, family and neighbors to keep us moving toward the light in dark times.
The Bible says, “For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again. When we see a tree come back from the brink of destruction, it inspires us and reminds us that life goes on and we can find a way to heal and grow.”
As I help dedicate the Survivor Tree, just like the tree, as a 9/11 survivor, I have risen from the ashes to stand strong in the face of tragedy, heal after devastating lost, and live once more.

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