September 11, 2001 is a day we will never forget. We all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing. A Canton couple certainly does, because they were working at the Pentagon when it came under attack.
When the Pentagon was hit by one of the hijacked airplanes, Janet Hartsell was there working.
"All of a sudden, all of us felt this huge jolt and we heard kind of like a muffled explosion off somewhere," Janet said.
That somewhere was just down from her office where the plane had crashed through three of the outer rings of the Pentagon.
She and her husband Lynn shared their stories today with senior citizens at a retirement home in Sioux Falls.
Janet describes the scene as total chaos as 22,000 military workers, including herself, scrambled to get out of the burning Pentagon. Even though she was alive, she still feared for her life.
"We just assumed that because two planes hit New York, we thought we would be hit again," Janet said.
Lynn Hartsell also worked at the Pentagon, but was at nearby Fort Meade, Maryland at the time.
He says the attack on the Pentagon could have been much worse, if not for a renovation project that displaced hundreds of workers from their offices.
"We probably had less than 20 percent of the people who would normally had been in that area in their offices," Lynn said.
Lynn's office was closer to the impact area, even though his office suffered fire damage, all of his staff survived with only cuts, bruises and burns.
125 people lost their lives at the Pentagon, but the nation as a whole lost its innocence.
"To me it really did change our way of life, made us more aware of the changes in our lifestyles," Lynn said.
"It was a wake up call for me and still is, I still think it could happen any day anywhere," Janet said.
To this day, both Lynn and Janet are very emotional about the events of 9/11 and are grateful to everyone who wears a uniform, then and now. Lynn lost a very good friend in the Pentagon attack, who would visit him daily in the morning. He often wonders if he had been in his office that day, if Jerry Dickerson would still be alive today.