Las Vegas survivors, veterans recall Sept. 11 attacks - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Las Vegas survivors, veterans recall Sept. 11 attacks

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Survivors of the attack at the Pentagon shared their memories of Sept. 11. Survivors of the attack at the Pentagon shared their memories of Sept. 11.
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

"I would say this, it started out like a somewhat normal day," Ret. Marine Gen. Emil "Buck" Bedard said, reflecting on the Sept. 11 attacks. 

Bedard was working in the Pentagon. That morning he was starting the day with briefings, just like any other day, he said. During those meetings, he heard about the planes flying into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, and then got a call from his office. 

"They said, 'We think we've got a couple birds not identified yet, and we think they're bound for Washington D.C.' And when he said 'D.C.,' the bird impacted the Pentagon," Bedard recalled. "About 50 to 55 yards from my office is where the bird went in."

Ret. Navy CPO Nicole Clifton was also working at the Pentagon.

"When we saw the second plane hit, I went into my office to call my mom," she explained. "All the sudden, I feel the building shake real hard ... I told my mom, I said 'We're hit,' and I hung up on her. I look out our windows and all the sudden, I see a ball of fire and debris hit my window." 

Both Bedard and Clifton described the scene after the attack as hectic and confusing.

"Sirens going off, smoke filled the building and the corridors especially down toward our area," Bedard said. 

"You could see smoke coming up," Clifton said. "But everything was dark down there ... everybody was talking, but it was so quiet. It was like everything had stopped."

"Talk about chaos. Talk about our own 'Pearl Harbor.' That, to me, is what the day was like for us," Bedard said. 

Bedard and Clifton lost 125 colleagues in the attack. Sixty-four others were on the plane. The veterans saw the carnage, but also the compassion.  

"A lot of great people stepped up, I will tell you, the amount of support, the amount of people who came to the aid of those injured, what our first responders did ... It's about a nation standing up and a nation showing its true spirit," Bedard said. 

And it's a spirit Bedard said he hopes to see again, and see beyond the somber anniversary. 

"I'd like to see our country come together. We're just so divided now over too many things, and that's the biggest message," he said. "I would hope it would carry over to (Sept.) twelfth, the thirteenth and to days beyond."

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