Pentagon Survivor Recounts Events Of 9-11 For Guntown Students


GUNTOWN, MISS. (WCBI) – As 9/11 Remembrance ceremonies take place across the nation, one school in our area brought in a guest who was at the Pentagon seventeen years ago when terrorists attacked.

Lieutenant Colonel Palmer Triplett had been retired for about a year from the U S Army, and was working as a civilian contractor at the Pentagon the morning of September 11, 2001.

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“People asked me did you hear it, ? No.  Did you feel it?  No,” he said.

Triplett was working on the opposite side of the building from the impact site.  He recounted how orders came to evacuate the Pentagon  However, he and some others stayed inside, to help first responders and others as the rescue efforts were underway.  For his talk to Guntown Middle School students,  the  U. S. Army veteran wore the same suit he had on the day America was attacked.

Lieutenant Colonel Triplett wanted students to get a sense of the historical importance of 9 11, how the nation has responded to the threat of terrorists since that day and the importance of patriotism.

“History does have some importance for us,  and America is resilient and we don’t let disasters define, when disaster strikes, just like the tornado here in Tupelo a few years ago and hurricanes on the coast, our responsibility as American citizens, is they learn to respond to adversity and move on. Patriotism is very important, it makes us strong,” Triplett said.

Seventh grade U. S. History Teacher Shannon Martin wanted her students to get an unique perspective on the events of 9/11.

“We wanted to give them a first hand account, I think it makes the events much more real to them,” Martin said.

“It’s different to see it, or hear from a person who experienced it, rather from a book or documentary,” said Student Izzy Smith.

“It was touching, if you wasn’t there you don’t know what kind of emotions they go through and how abruptly it can affect their life,” said Student Adam Mallette.

Triplett and his wife Lera live in Tupelo.