GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport Seabee shares story of surviving 9/11 Pentagon attack
As the nation remembers the thousands of victims and heroes of 9/11 on Sunday, the ceremonies bring back painful memories for many of the survivors.
A Gulfport Seabee was at the Pentagon that tragic day, when a jet slammed into the building. Ten years later, the emotional scars are still fresh.
"For me to see it happen and be part of it, I still can't believe it to this day," said Terrance Mumphery.
Those horrible images are forever seared in his memory. Mumphery was on the third floor of the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, when a hijacked jet crashed into the building.
"When the plane actually hit, it lifted up my desk," said Mumphery. "I distinctly remember trying to get out of the building and I was going down the corridor. I could see pieces of the plane laying on the side, and when I got to one side of the building, the entire building was gone."
Mumphery was 27-years-old at the time and working for the Secretary of Defense. As part of the huge building collapsed around him, Mumphery kept running.
"I continued to pray as I was trying to find my way out of the building," said Mumphery.
When asked what was going through his mind in the midst of the chaos, Mumphery responded: "Will I ever see my kids again ?"
Mumphery found an exit. But so many people did not make it out alive. Mumphery said he lost "countless" friends.
"It's hard every day waking up trying to see why am I here and they're not," he said through tears.
The memories were so painful that Mumphery has never been able to return to the Pentagon.
"It hurts. It hurts in my soul and one day, I hope to get passed this," said Mumphery.
Mumphery has taken the first major step toward healing. He's now stationed at the Gulfport Seabee Base and on Friday, he attended a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony there. It was his first 9/11 program in 10 years.
"I enjoyed the ceremony, but it was very hard to hear the bell chimes, to hear the singing, just the initial remembrance of everything replayed in my mind," said Mumphery.
Mumphery is hoping that some day, he can actually be part of such a moving ceremony.
"It's part of our history that we will never be able to forget," he said. "Whether you were there or not, you remember it and it touches everyone in some shape or form."
Mumphery has three children, ages 15, 14 and six.
He said he is very blessed to be alive, because just about every morning, he would visit his shipmates on the same side of the Pentagon that was hit by the plane.