Mrs. Rumsfeld Shares Sympathy, Good Wishes With Attack Victims
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 13, 2001 The beaming smile of Janice Jackson showed she appreciated the company of Joyce Rumsfeld, who visited Arlington Hospital here today to meet those hurt in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
Rumsfeld, wife of the defense secretary, met with military and civilian victims of the Sept. 11 blast. She heard their stories of fear and heroism. She told them that DoD appreciates their sacrifices and rejoices that they lived through the ordeal.
She also heard stories of loss, about co-workers who died in the attack. And she spoke of her sense of loss with these victims.
Jackson, an automation expert and civilian contractor, told how her co-workers helped her and how, as she was escaping the fire, she helped another co-worker out of the office. Jackson was burned on her hands, back and head.
"When I was in there," she told Rumsfeld, "I thought about my kids and that I was going to get out."
Sheila Moody had just started her second day on the job at the Pentagon when the plane hit. She told Rumsfeld of an incredible rescue.
After the explosion, Moody and another woman struggled to reach a window in an attempt to flee the building. Neither had a clue what had happened nor that a gaping hole had been blown in the building, she said.
"A soldier, I believe his name was Cpl. Burns, he came in with a fire extinguisher," Moody continued. "I heard him say, 'Is anybody in there?' And I said, 'Yes, we're here!'"
The smoke got too thick for Moody to breathe. She had to clap her hands to get the corporal's attention. "He did and came toward the sound and he put out the flames between us. I stepped over some of the rubble and he led me outside," she said.
She told the corporal about the other woman inside. The man turned around, went back in and rescued her. "He's an angel to have come in to get me," Moody concluded.
Rumsfeld also visited Dalisay Olaes, a victim being treated in the hospital intensive care unit. She escaped the building by following "my specialist." Spc. Michael Petrovich, she said, rescued her and led her to an open window. She and Army Lt. Col. Marilyn Wills, now in an adjacent ICU room, jumped to safety.
"The colonel said we had to jump or we were going to burn," Olaes said. "I did. I must have nine lives."
"I feel lucky that I got to see them and a regret that they're here," Rumsfeld said following the visit. "They are just courageous, wonderful human beings. They all expressed their horror at what happened and yet they are incredibly strong and eager to get back."