Nearly 20 years ago, the morning of 9/11 started much like any other for Pentagon employee Coretta Freeman. She, an Air Force veteran from Charles County, managed to escape the building, but later went back to work to ensure the nation’s security.
“As my husband and I customarily do, we pray every morning before we go to work,” she remembers. “So we prayed that morning and I arrived at work.”
Once at the office, where she worked in communications technology, Freeman heard the news of planes hitting the Twin Towers. Later, someone ran in, yelling that the Pentagon was under attack, too.
Freeman was headed out of the building when she heard a frightening sound.
“At that time, I heard an explosion, so you get a little emotional there,” she said. “I was just so thankful to God that I made it out and was able to see my family again.”
Through it all, Freeman knew she had a job to do. She returned to work just two days later, determined to get communications back online.
“We were on a mission, you know, to do what all we could do to get everything running back to normal,” she said. “You could smell the fumes of the plane and the smoke in the building, and just knowing that there were bodies in the building.”
All these years later, the pain of that day still endures. But so too, does the purpose.
Freeman’s son is now in the Air Force, following in his mother’s footsteps.
She said Sept. 11 remains a day to reflect and remember.
“I think about the families of course, of those who didn’t make it out,” she said. “I just hope that everyone will keep them, keep everyone in your memories and in your prayers for those families.”