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Wreckage serves as reminder of 9/11

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Pentagon firefighters reflect during visit to Fort Knox

By Marty Finley

Alan Wallace, Dennis Young and Mark Skipper reunited at Potts Motor Park on Fort Knox Tuesday to see the wreckage of Foam 161, the fire truck assigned to Fort Myers Fire and Emergency Services that was stationed at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001.

Seeing the truck again brought back a flood of memories for the three men, who retold stories of carnage and detailed their attempts to evacuate as many people from the Pentagon as they could. The truck was sitting between the Pentagon and an adjacent fire station when American Airlines Flight 77 barreled into the west side of the building.

Wallace said it was probably no more than a split second after seeing the plane that they heard the crash and felt the impact. Wallace was standing with Skipper no more than 15 feet in front of the truck when chaos broke out.

"I wasn't jogging; I wasn't walking," Wallace said. "I was running."

Wallace and Young have since retired, while Skipper is a federal firefighter in the Memphis, Tenn., area. The trio reunited in Hardin County for the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks this week, where they are participating in a series of 9/11-themed events.

They will take part in a parade convoy featuring Foam 161 that will move along U.S. 31W from the Gen. George Patton Museum of Leadership to downtown Elizabethtown and back from 2 to 3:30 p.m. today.

For more information about the Pentagon firefighters' visit and the convoy through Hardin County, see Wednesday's print edition of The News-Enterprise.