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The Pocahontas Times
Marlinton, West Virginia
September 11, 2003     The Pocahontas Times
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September 11, 2003

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be otabonta Eimee -- September ] 1, 2003 -- Page 3 11 survivor recalls day people went out of their way f,c.d/tor Jonese instinc- what had happened the C section of the Cheryl, had called Bank to tell York's World Trade attacked by ter- had just hung up and turned to tell his what had happened when what was the safest building suffered the same had flown a plane into the newly section of the shook, lights d David ran outside a huge ball of fire to several the five-story American defense. Airflight 77 with 64 on board had io and through sec- B of the five-sided al into the C section had been. awhile, he felt as if a movie, a come to of his eyes. seem real at all," he was kind of that point. For a kind of mad- then it seemed, actual- well." and flames grew returned to his office greeted by an order to lust as quick- to return inside as approached. It a military plane survivors were Ordered to evacuate. service first Were on the scene keep everyone away end of the building the fire and second- "That. to me. was the mos incredible thing. 1 just never imagined people gotng thai far out of their way. of the guys I work coming in on the , ended up going in to just as the plane said, "[They] were to help evacu- as one of was propelled 'eet by security and Watch the tragedy to help. And Co-workers hadn't grounds when plane fly low over tipping through hit the building. Were sitting in a tight in front of it plane hit the dirt into the wall. able to save them- under the Were badly burned. COvered in smoke, were pouring out they were, he black from the Watched as people building, crawling rubble to search for might be alive and as ambulances and police officers arrived to do a job they had been prepared for, but never thought they'd be dis- patched to do. "'lit] all burned." he said. "It was by the sheer grace of God we moved or we would have been in there." Because of the reconstruction, he was actually quartered in offices attached to the south side of the Pentagon. Fortunately. most people made it out of there, he said, although a lot of them were hurt. People were crawling through total darkness trying to lead oth- ers out of there "They really didn't know where to send people," David recalled. "We tried to account for everybody in our depart- ment." That proved to be a difficult task; some people were in ambulances, too much traffic struggled to flee the area. But one officer was unac- counted for that day. They searched, but not until later did they discover he had been on American Airflight 77, a victim of the terrorists' plot even though he was not in the Pentagon. "It could have been worse," he said. "a lot worse." Had the terrorists flown into the center of the Pentagon, involving all five sides of the building, or flown into another section not yet recon- structed with explosive- proof windows, casualties could have risen exponentially from the 189 who died there. "Fortunately, the terrorists were not very smart in what they were doing, They hit the Pentagon because it was a target they could identify," David said. Officials had to make a tough call, then. "They had a hard time trying to decide where to put people where they thought it would be safest," he said. Eventually, hotels in nearby Crystal Springs opened up for the evacuees. For hours they sat and watched as the tragic day developed, learning the twin towers had fallen, killing some of New York's first responders --and that another plane apparent- ly headed to Washington had crashed in Pennsylvania. Roads were closed, cell phone and land lines were busy. "No one could call; no one could do anything," he said. "You couldn't move. "You were just stuck. You just kind of sat there for hours and wondered what was next." And then Air Force F-16s arrived, presenting themselves overhead, patrolling for any other inbound planes. "It was a really weird feeling 'to think, "I'm sitting here in Washington, D. C. with combat air defense planes flying over- head,'" he said. "That's what changed it all for me, my whole perspective on living." Then a body of people accus- " ) " 9 lqowers & Occasion 2mO. Cards Accepted Telenora '0 Restaurant 00tate Park 11:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Turkey & Dressing, Craw, Green Beans, Salad Bar & Rolls Kids 12 & Under S4 so NEW FALL HOb: 5un.-Fn..9a.m-5pm * 9 o,m - 7pm 304-799-7421 Bonnie .Shoro, Mgr. tomed to following orders were told, "Try to make it out of here the best you can." On their own, they walked for miles until a bus picked them up. The driver couldn't negotiate the congested roads and took them back to where they started. They walked some more. "It took me about 10 hours to get back home (to Quantico) that evening," he said. "I had no way to identify myself to any- body," he said. No way to verify that he was Major David Jonese, United States Marine Corps, because his badge was in his brief case inside the Pentagon. Quantico, by that evening, had stepped up security, as well. David had eventually gotten through to his brother, Mark, also stationed at Quantico. Mark picked him up and they traveled back to the base. "When we got to the gate, (guards) started searching the car and I just said, 'hey, I don't have any ID, it's all at the Pentagon," David said. Mark was able to vouch for David and get him through the gate. When he finally did get a line through to Green Bank, about 6 p.m., he found many people had called Cheryl and his parents, Joe and June. "Have y o u heard from him?" "Is he all rightT' "What can we doT' David wasn't even aware that many people knew where he worked or that he was in Washington that day. People from Pocahontas County who worked in the Washington area called to say they could be a certain place if Cheryl could talk to David and could tell him to get there. They would walt until they knew for sure. People who lived here offered to go to Washington, to get in as far as they could, and bring him home. They would wait until they knew for sure. It is tim f'wst moment during the story that David Jonese shows emotion. "That, to me, was the most incredible thing," he said. "I just never imagined people going that far out of their way." That moment affirmed the Joneses' decision to move back to Pocahontas County, where they both grew up, where they wanted to raise their family. They had lived in Green Bank DAVID AND CHERYL Jonese with their children, Kachine, Lakota and Makeia last year. At right, Lt.Col. David Jonese in United States Marines dress blues. pretty amazing, considering most of the time up there you'd swear people would step tight over you to get where they're going." Cheryl had sat, none too patiently, by the telephone all day. "I just wanted to go get the kids," she said. I just wanted to get the kids and bring them home." A thought gnawed at the back of her head. Plagued her. "Did they talk to their daddy yesterdayT' Daughters Kachine and Makeia and son Lakota were students at Green Bank School and were dismissed early because of the tragedy. She made frantic calls to his cell phone, their "life line," to find out what had happened to her husband of 21 years. That cell phone was in his brief case, along with his gov- ernment badge and wallet, in the C section of the Pentagon. When he got back to it a week later, he heard the mes- sages she'd left, heard the fear in her voice as she begged him to call her and tell her he was all right, ,'Please, p, tell me you're okay," the message said. It is the only other time David shows emotion, as he looks into the house where -Cheryl is busy. After that, his workplace was more like a combat zone with surface to air missiles batteries lined up around the Pentagon and humvees and track vehicles with 50 pound machine guns patrolling the area. less than a month. "Knowing that people would stop from their daily fives here, (people) you would never think about. We came back to the right place." But in the city, people were transformed by tragedy, as well. They offered rides. "Where do you need to goT' "What can we do to help.'?" "Everybody was doing something to try to help some- II mo4 653-4397 II body else," he said, "which was ,,,I to '--,-" ...... ,o00t00uuet The party storts at 6:30 p.m., Friday, September 12 w//h "Crossflre" Thurs., Frl. & Sat. we will open at 11 a.m. e/.O00E THE 00TREETJ00 TO PARTY WITH THE. WV HOard H.O.G. Live Rock & Roll 6 p.m. - ? w/th lrom tt e. ItllMain - Imving at 5:30 p.m. Sponsed by ee Town of maaon, the Pocaixmt e---3. Ctmmber of .Commeme. and the Martton BusUtem  "I've seen this in other places, but I never thought it would be in Washington, D. C.," he said. His days after September 11, 2001, were much unchanged, otherwise. "There was never any fear, never really an issue of what's going to happen to us," he said. "It was more of it's time to get involved and do something or stay out of the way." "You look back and think there was probably so many things that should have been done or could have been done to help, but basically it was just luck. Sheer luck." He saw the September 11 memorial at the Smithsonian Institute and it was "the first time I ever really stopped to think about it," David was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel September 1. He begins a new job at Quantico this week and could retire in a year or stay for anoth- er three year hitch. And then he will come home. Home--where Cheryl runs a busy household bustling with children. Kachine shoots bas- kets at the mobile hoop in the driveway. Lakota fishes with his friends. And Makeia alternately wraps h e arm around her father's neck from behind and bounces on his lap. Home-where friends and neighbors call to say they care when they know something might have happened. It's difficult to see the changes September 11 made in this family who is dedicated to one another and to the new life they've chosen. But they are caught in the special glances between David and Cheryl, in the softly spoken phrases which seem to deny the presence of anyone else. They are caught in the determination of people who mean to make a difference with the lives they' ve been given. Changes marked by a day no one can forget, but a day that has given David and Cheryl Jonese a renewed sense of the importance of communication and of community. I I Enjoy the Autumn Harvest Festival in Marlinton September 27 i Furniture -Tile .Appliances Vinyl ,Carpet -Bedding 106 8th Street, Marlinton Financing Available X 304-799-6235 Amish Handcrafted Oak Furniture Pie Safes Jelly Cupboards Solid Oak Tables & Chairs Solid Oak Beds & Bedroom Furniture China Hutches Gun Cabinets Entertainment Centers Curios Much much more! Crazy Country00i00 Market on the 4-Lane south of Elkins 636"3497