It's been 17 years since the United States stopped and stared — at TVs, at ground zero, at the Pentagon. On September 11, 2018, Palm Coast residents and officials gathered at the Elks Lodge No. 2709 at 53 Old Kings Road N., to pay tribute to the first responders — the heroes who worked tirelessly to help the nation recover from the tragic attacks that morning in 2001 — and to remember the 2,977 people who died in New York City, in Washington, D.C., and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Among the 9/11 survivors were Richard Glover, a retiree of the New York Fire Department, and Ophelia Beier, who worked in the Pentagon in 2001. Both have lived in Palm Coast for about a decade. As the ceremony's guest speakers, Glover shared stories of responding to the mountains of rubble at ground zero, and Beier spoke of the close call she had at the Pentagon, where many of her coworkers died.
Beier said Sept. 11, 2001, started as a beautiful Tuesday morning at the Pentagon. She was running a few minutes late to a meeting, but she wanted to swing by her office for just a minute to grab a doughnut and some coffee. But an internal voice stopped her, so she continued on to the meeting. Her office was destroyed when the plane hit the west side of the Pentagon.
"I believe it was because of a higher power watching over me that I made it out alive," she said.
Glover said he is unable to describe the destruction he encountered at ground zero. He had been with the New York City Fire Department for 20 years on Sept. 11, 2001.
"There's no explanation if you weren't there," he said. "'Terrible' isn't even a good word to describe it."
Glover went on to encourage those in attendance to teach children the history of 9/11 — so it is never forgotten.