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Remembering 9/11, finding hope

Jessica Meyle and her son, Robert, born on May 13, 2002—just barely eight months after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Ms. Meyle was a public affairs specialist in the TRICARE Management Activity, Communications and Customer Service division and still supports the Defense Health Agency today. Robert just started his first year in high school. Jessica Meyle and her son, Robert, born on May 13, 2002 — just barely eight months after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Ms. Meyle was a public affairs specialist in the TRICARE Management Activity, Communications and Customer Service division and still supports the Defense Health Agency today. Robert just started his first year in high school.

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MHS Remembers 9/11

“You’re pregnant,” my doctor exclaimed with an encouraging smile across his face.

I slowly sat, not even sure if a chair was beneath me, and stared speechlessly with confusion. How, in the midst of so much tragedy, could something so wonderful be true?

I left, walking through waiting room of the Woodbridge Family Health Clinic on Sept. 12, 2001 looking at the solemn faces of veterans, military families and service members waiting to be seen. We were all still numb from the horrific events that occurred just 24 hours before.

Most of us can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when the first airplane plunged into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. We all have our story. I was in my office at the TRICARE Management Activity in the Skyline offices, just a few miles from the Pentagon.

Sept. 11, 2001 started the same as any other Tuesday of any other week. The sky was clear and the air was just starting to get crisp. I started my work day at commuter lot picking up “slugs” for the morning drive. 

“This is a hoax—there’s no way this is really happening.” These were my first thoughts when I learned of the first plane. 

After that, a group of us gathered in the conference room and watched the rest unfold. We stared in disbelief as the towers collapsed, not even realizing how close the next threat would be.

Jessica and Robert, pictured together on Sept. 10, 2016.Jessica and Robert, pictured together on Sept. 10, 2016.

I remember seeing a low-flying plane just above the top of our building—but even now it’s hard to believe that’s what I saw.

We all knew someone at the Pentagon—a friend, a neighbor a co-worker. I thought fleetingly of the people I dropped off just a couple hours earlier. The sonic boom of the fighter jets scrambling to the scene made our offices shudder. The sound was like nothing I ever heard before.

I can’t stop the tears whenever I think of 9/11, the lives that were lost and everything that changed. It affected all of us in some way. But, every time I think of 9/11, also remember the day after and the hope my son’s new life gave me.

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Pentagon Flag

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9/11/2016
Military Service members render honors as fire and rescue workers unfurl a huge American flag over the side of the Pentagon during rescue and recovery efforts following the Sept 11 terrorist attack. The attack came at approximately 9:40 a.m. as a hijacked commercial airliner, originating from Washington D.C.'s Dulles airport, was flown into the southern side of the building facing Route 27. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Michael W. Pendergrass)

Military Service members render honors as fire and rescue workers unfurl a huge American flag over the side of the Pentagon during rescue and recovery efforts following the Sept 11 terrorist attack. The attack came at approximately 9:40 a.m. as a hijacked commercial airliner, originating from Washington D.C.'s Dulles airport, was flown into the southern side of the building facing Route 27. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Michael W. Pendergrass)

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MHS Remembers 9/11

Pentagon Scene

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9/11/2016
A fire fighter from Arlington County, Fire Department surveys the scene during rescue and recovery efforts following the deadly Sep. 11 terrorist attack in which a hijacked commercial airliner was crashed into the Pentagon. American Airlines FLT 77 was bound for Los Angeles from Washington Dulles with 58 passengers and 6 crew. All aboard the aircraft were killed, along with 125 people in the Pentagon. (U.S. Naval photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Michael W. Pendergrass.)

A fire fighter from Arlington County, Fire Department surveys the scene during rescue and recovery efforts following the deadly Sep. 11 terrorist attack in which a hijacked commercial airliner was crashed into the Pentagon. American Airlines FLT 77 was bound for Los Angeles from Washington Dulles with 58 passengers and 6 crew. All aboard the aircraft were killed, along with 125 people in the Pentagon. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Michael W. Pendergrass.)

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Pentagon Ruins

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9/11/2016
A section of the Pentagon lies in ruins following the deadly Sep. 11 terrorist attack in which a hijacked commercial airliner was crashed into the Pentagon. American Airlines FLT 77 was bound for Los Angeles from Washington Dulles with 58 passengers and 6 crew. All aboard the aircraft were killed, along with 125 people in the Pentagon. (U. S. Naval photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Michael W. Pendergrass)

A section of the Pentagon lies in ruins following the deadly Sep. 11 terrorist attack in which a hijacked commercial airliner was crashed into the Pentagon. American Airlines FLT 77 was bound for Los Angeles from Washington Dulles with 58 passengers and 6 crew. All aboard the aircraft were killed, along with 125 people in the Pentagon. (U. S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Michael W. Pendergrass)

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Garrison Flag at Pentagon

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9/10/2016
The garrison flag is hung from the still smoldering Pentagon by service members and firefighters. (DoD photo)

The garrison flag is hung from the still smoldering Pentagon by service members and firefighters. (DoD photo)

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Former Pentagon clinic chief Talks with First Responders

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9/5/2016
Dr. James Geiling (center), at the time an Army colonel in charge of the Pentagon's DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic, talks with local first responders and senior military commanders after the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

Dr. James Geiling (center), at the time an Army colonel in charge of the Pentagon's DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic, talks with local first responders and senior military commanders after the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

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Former Pentagon clinic chief surveys scene at the Pentagon

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9/5/2016
Dr. James Geiling, at the time an Army colonel in charge of the Pentagon's DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic, surveys the scene after the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

Dr. James Geiling, at the time an Army colonel in charge of the Pentagon's DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic, surveys the scene after the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

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Former Pentagon clinic chief directs medical response

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9/5/2016
Dr. James Geiling (back to camera, in the blue vest), at the time an Army colonel in charge of the Pentagon's DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic, directs the medical response after the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

Dr. James Geiling (back to camera, in the blue vest), at the time an Army colonel in charge of the Pentagon's DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic, directs the medical response after the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

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Dawn S. Marvin

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9/1/2016
Dawn S. Marvin, Department Chief of Strategic Communications at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center wrote this coverage of Operation Noble Eagle in Sept 2001 and in 2003 respectively.

Dawn S. Marvin, Department Chief of Strategic Communications at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center wrote articles about of Operation Noble Eagle in Sept 2001 and in 2003 respectively.

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USNS Comfort Flight Deck Personnel

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9/1/2016
Flight Deck personnel of the USNS COMFORT watch as the “Floating Hospital” ship docks at Pier 92 in New York Harbor.

Flight Deck personnel of the USNS Comfort watch as the “Floating Hospital” ship docks at Pier 92 in New York Harbor.

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USNS Comfort Flight Deck

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9/1/2016
COMFORT flight deck personnel also assisted the city and other government agencies that required helicopter landings and layovers.  In fact, New York officials designated the ship as the secure location for emergency landings for VIP personnel.

USNS Comfort flight deck personnel also assisted the city and other government agencies that required helicopter landings and layovers. In fact, New York officials designated the ship as the secure location for emergency landings for VIP personnel.

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National 9-11 Pentagon Memorial

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8/31/2016
Photo of the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. The Pentagon Memorial was created to remember and honor those family members and friends who are no longer with us because of the events of September 11, 2001 at the Pentagon. (Courtesy photo by Kevin Dwyer)

Photo of the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. The Pentagon Memorial was created to remember and honor those family members and friends who are no longer with us because of the events of September 11, 2001 at the Pentagon. (Courtesy photo by Kevin Dwyer)

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National 9-11 Pentagon Memorial (with flag)

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8/31/2016
Photo of the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. The Pentagon Memorial was created to remember and honor those family members and friends who are no longer with us because of the events of September 11, 2001 at the Pentagon. (Courtesy photo by Kevin Dwyer)

Photo of the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. The Pentagon Memorial was created to remember and honor those family members and friends who are no longer with us because of the events of September 11, 2001 at the Pentagon. (Courtesy photo by Kevin Dwyer)

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Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort

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Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort steams into New York City Sept. 14, 2001, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Preston Keres)

The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort steams into New York City Sept. 14, 2001, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. It left from Baltimore harbor the morning of 14 Sept to assist in the medical care of injured survivors, but the mission of the 1,000-bed Comfort soon changed to a humanitarian mission to assist in the medical care of survivors and first responders, dubbed “Operation Noble Eagle.” (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Preston Keres)

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