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Monday, September 11th | Remembering 9/11 (feat. David & Evelyn Woodson)

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
September 11, 2023 7:00 am

Monday, September 11th | Remembering 9/11 (feat. David & Evelyn Woodson)

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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September 11, 2023 7:00 am

In this show, Dr. Shah talks with some very special guests about their experience during the 9/11 attacks.

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Welcome back to Clearview Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at, or if you have any questions or suggestions for new topics, send us a text to 252-582-5028.

That's right. And if today's your first time ever visiting us here on the Clearview Today Show, we want to welcome you, let you know exactly who's talking to you today. Dr. Abbadon Shah is a PhD in New Testament textual criticism, professor at Carolina University, author, full-time pastor, and the host of today's show.

You can find all of his work on his website. That's Why are you on my side? No, you're on my side. That's just side over there. No, you're on my side. No, I don't think so. You've ventured over here to my side, and I don't want to have to fight you on Patriot Day.

I would hate to have to do that. This is a special holiday, but you cannot start the show with that energy. You are right. For our listening audience, they have no idea what we're talking about, but I am on John's side, because we have a very special episode today. Dr. Shah, do you want to introduce our special guest today?

Absolutely. Today we have a couple that is very dear to our hearts, to our family, and definitely to the church family. That's David and Evelyn Woodson. They've been here for several years. They're part of the Clearview Care Group team, giving cares to a certain number of people under their care, but above and beyond. They love the Lord, and their faith is real. Their values are so dear to my heart, and I'm just glad to have them here again. David and Evelyn Woodson, thank you all for being here.

Thank you. Their story is kind of unique, because both David and Evelyn, I'm going to let them share a little bit about what they did. They worked in the Pentagon, and they were there on 9-11. Most of the time, when people talk about 9-11, they only think about the trade towers, but that's just part of what happened. Although it was a very tragic part, there was also something very drastic and terrible that took place at the Pentagon. They were trying to attack the heart of our nation's security. You guys were there at the time.

Would you mind sharing a little bit about what you all did, and then maybe talk about that day a little bit? Certainly. Do you want to start off?

Yeah. Well, I was in the Marine Corps for 22 years, and then after the Marine Corps, I stayed with a federal government job there at the Pentagon for an additional 18 years. But my time at the Pentagon, I got there in 1999, and I worked for Secretary Donald Runsfeld at the time. Actually, I worked for the prior administration, which was, oh my goodness, Clinton, with Secretary Cohen, Secretary of Defense, and then the Bush administration came in. So that was Secretary Runsfeld.

So I worked with him in his front office in the Legislative Affairs Office. That was the Marine there. That's insane. Wow. That's pretty amazing. That's pretty high up. Yeah. I was going to say, we hear about these names and people in the news or on the nightly news, but to know that you were right there working with them.

I often wonder about that. How does one work in the Pentagon? How do you get a job in the Pentagon? You can't find that job listing on LinkedIn. I went on It's not there. You have to be punished appropriately to work there.

I thought it works. But it's funny, when we moved to Washington, D.C. when I was younger, we were driving around and we'd see the White House and I'm going, I wonder how people get a job in there. And then, lo and behold- I was going to say, were you married at the time? Were the two of you married at the time?

No, no. This is when I was a young boy, just moving to D.C. How do you get a job at the White House? And then throughout my career, I was actually stationed at the White House for two years. So this is how you do it.

That's how you do it. It was a punishment because it's an interesting job, but it is very demanding. You worked at the Pentagon as well. By the time of September 11th, you were in the Pentagon as well. Did the two of you apply separately? I mean, I assume you did, but you both ended up or did you plan, let's both try to work at the Pentagon together? We both just ended up there. That's where we met. And what was your role at the Pentagon?

I know, but for the sake of the audience. I did the publications management for the Navy. So I worked for the Department of the Navy as a civilian and I did 38 years. And part of that, the two years that I did at the White House, they have a print shop at the White House and under publishing, we did printing as well. So I got to manage that print shop at the White House for two years.

And then I came back to the Pentagon. Wow. That's incredible.

For the sake of our listeners and viewers, I have been to David's print shop and you can pretty much do anything you want to. Really? You can dream it. They got all the toys. Yeah.

Big toys in there. Wow. What was life like working at the Pentagon? Prior to 9-11, just kind of normal day going into work. What is that like? What does a day in the life of the Pentagon look like?

Well, first you got to commute to that DC traffic to get there. Oh, that's fun. Yeah. But for me, it was an honor to work there. I felt very proud to work there. I'm sure Evelyn, you did too, especially being in uniformed services as part of the Marine Corps. I'm sure it was a proud time for you to work there as well.

Yeah. I got stationed there in 1999, like I said. And when I got stationed there, we had that kind of attack with the anthrax at the Capitol building. So, and then the military started getting their anthrax shots and stuff. And so many of the services were complaining about the vaccination and whatnot. So they set up a new office with a two-star general.

And he just had four workers. He had a captain for the Army and she was his press secretary. And she got him ready, the general, for every time he had to go to Capitol Hill to explain. And then we had a captain, actually, she was a colonel in the Army and the captain in the Navy, and she was a medical doctor. And she did all the evaluations of the medical jackets of the servicemen members that were complaining. And then I was the executive assistant to the general. So I got the whole office prepared.

So it was an office of four. And once we closed that office, we went on to move and work for the secretary of defense in his front office. It's all about the mission and it's all about the work. Yeah, there's no backslacking or anything, because on top of what your job is, it depends on your clearance. So you can go from secret to top secret. So once I retired from the military, I went on to work for another general, but he was in the Army and I worked for Army Operation Center and you had to have a top secret to work in that department. So it just depends on your job, what you do.

And then when I moved on to another job, because I always move on for promotion, then they would take your top secret and degrade it to maybe back to secret because you don't need to know that information anymore. And most people there, the atmosphere is that you're there to support the war fighter. You're there to support the fleet, the men and the women on the ships, the people overseas. So it's a serious mission. And everybody that I worked with, and I'm sure with Evelyn, it took it serious. Had a sense of weightiness. This is a big deal.

This is not just an average job. And they would do periodically, they would bring wounded warriors in through the Pentagon and they would come through the corridors and everybody would come out of their offices and applaud and shake their hands and meet them and greet them and have a lunch for them. And that was a sobering experience because some of these guys and some of these gals, they came back pretty wounded.

Yeah. When they would come back from war, they would get transferred to Walter Reed. And then before they got discharged, we'd have a parade, if you will, inside the Pentagon. So it would be quarters of people just lined up, just greeting them as the wheelchairs would come down. And they would bring their families with them.

Their little children would come with them. What an honor for them. Yeah.

We felt obligated to support them. Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. I've been inside the Pentagon twice.

Once because of Nicole's sister's husband's family worked in the Pentagon. So we were able to go there. But then with David and Evelyn, we really got to see the Pentagon and that was just mind blowing. It's an amazing place. And if you walk around in those rings, the outer rings, there are museums there. I'm like, wow.

That's incredible. What does the inside of the Pentagon look like? How does it make you feel walking through it? Well, I mean, it's for these guys to explain.

For me, it was just like, I can't believe it. Wow. There's five levels. And as you go around the Pentagon, the walls are just covered with documents, with memorabilia. So if you go through the Marine Corps quarter, you have all the Marine Corps memorabilia.

And then the Navy got all the ships. These are big display cases and each level has a different type of display. So as you go around, you kind of don't get bored. But if you've been there for 38 years, you're like, oh, I know where the display is and stuff. And then they'll change the display too. So it's like, oh, we've got a new display.

Let's go check it out. There's General Patton's jacket or something is there. And I was like, is that the real deal? And it's the real deal. It's behind the glass case, but I was just amazed. General MacArthur's pipe.

Yes, that's there too. So let's wind the clocks back. Golly, 22 years now.

2001. I'm in fourth grade. You're in seventh grade. You are with your dad. Your dad's actually here in America.

Yes. He's here because we're trying to bring him here. There's a group of people who live in New York City. Some of them attended our church back in India. And they're telling my dad, look, you're hitting 60. We would love to have you come be our pastor here. We'll take care of everything. Your kids are here.

Just be the pastor and we'll take care of everything. So meetings are set up for my dad in New York City. So I brought him here. He was going to do a weekend revival at our church, Clearview.

And then my brother and I were going to drive him up to New York, which we did. But circumstances changed radically. Oh yeah.

Radically after the second day of, or maybe I would say maybe the fourth day of being here. Unbelievable. So we're all in front of a television, but you guys are in the building that gets hit. Yes.

Wow. How did, uh, I guess what was that like? Like what were the circumstances, not leading up to it, but like from you, from your perspective, how did that day unfold? We'd worried about a bombing attack at the Pentagon. On several occasions there was false alarms, but you never really think that it's going to happen. And we do training and we do evacuations and stuff like that, but it's it's nothing like you would think it would be.

It's pretty terrifying to think that you're really at risk and the people you love and work with are at risk or going through something terrible at the time. I was in uniform, like I said, when it happened. The day was just a regular day, go in and set up the office and make sure you're putting on all the newspaper articles and whatever that the secretary needs to read and be informed of. And then I, but I had a medical appointment and we have a state of the art medical facility at the Pentagon. So I went to my medical appointment, some waiting for them to call my name. And I'm, of course I have a big screen TV. You're sitting there watching. And then I saw the first plane hit. And then when the second one hit, I was like, Oh no, we're in attack. So I called David at his office and I told him where I was. And I said, I'm watching the TV. We're getting attacked.

These planes are flying into the twin towers in New York. So if you can get to a TV set, you can see what's going on. And then they called my name. So I said, Hey, I got to go. They just call my name to go see the doctor. So I went back there to go see the doctor and unbeknownst to me, David left his office and went to look for a TV set.

He couldn't find one. So he said, well, let me just go down to the medical clinic and just wait for her to come out. Yeah. After the, after we got off the phone, I was thinking, well, there's a, there's a TV down in the army section, you know, but there's TV at the clinic and that's where she's at. So I'll go down there and check on her and see what's going on in New York. So I left my office was on the fifth floor. We had just moved back into the Pentagon. They'd renovated our sections, moved us out for a little while. And then we just moved back in.

So I went down the stairwell and then across the center court to the clinic and we're watching this on TV. And I'm, I'm just pondering, you know, gosh, this is, this is an attack. And then I'm starting to worry that, you know, she's going to get deployed, you know, over this or something. And, and I'm pondering that and I'm thinking, you know, they've always threatened the Pentagon, but it's such a low profile building.

They're never, they never fly a plane into it. You know, we're worried about truck bombs. And while I'm watching this on TV, I start hearing a lot of screaming and yelling. And I could see the guards at the gate from the window in the clinic starting to scramble and people started pouring down the hallway and I go, Oh my goodness, what's going on? The guard came in and said, a bomb we've been, we've been attacked. There's a bomb that went off.

We were evacuating the building. Cause I guess they didn't know it was a plane. And that was, did you hear a sound? Could you feel it? I didn't hear anything. You can't hear the other side. Just when the voices of the people in the hallway that were coming out from the outer corridor. How far had you wandered from your office at the time? It was, it's a, it's a Pentagon shape.

So I'm like two sides over. So you were a good distance away from your office. Okay. Okay. Yeah.

Okay. How close was your office to the impact? When we exited the building, there was a, there's a corner this way.

And then my office was on that side. Cause when we exited, I waited around, everybody was evacuating the clinic and she wasn't coming out. And I was getting worried and went back there and she's scrambling to get our clothes to go. She was having her exam done.

She's getting her shoes, she's carrying her shoes and everything. I said, we got to get out of here. We exited the building and I could see smoke from around the corner of the building. So I started counting windows and going up and I'm thinking that's my office up there. And there was a big round hole in the building, bunch of debris on the ground and flames were just pouring out like a cannon.

They were just shooting out and people were still coming out of the building, just storming out of the building. And I got a phone call and it was my sister. And she says, are you guys okay? And I said, yeah, we're fine. We're fine.

We're leaving the Pentagon now. And then my phone cut off and people started running up to me going, can I use your phone or mine's not working? So they tried to use my phone again and it didn't work. The communications were down. But it buckled your conference room and it took part of your office out as well. So your office was damaged in the impact.

Yes. My office was on the fifth floor. The plane came in on the second floor, which took out the first and part of the third, but there was a, there's a seam in the building. So part of the, part of the floor came down, but it held in place while the people in my office were able to escape in a certain direction and they were able to get out. But it was, it was terrifying.

I was like, what's going on? And then there was so much flame. I didn't know if it was going up, but it was definitely pouring out of the building. And then in a few minutes that part crumbled and it all fell in. And when you see pictures, it's typically already come down, but it was still intact.

It was just a round hole in that building for a short period of time. And then it's pouring out. We're just mesmerized. We don't know what the heck is going on. We see all this smoke and stuff. Then we hear the guards coming. Hey, you guys got to disperse because there's another plane on its way.

They say it's going to go toward the white house. So it was like, you know, where we got dispersed, but we were already in the parking lot. Yeah. And for some reason that day, I just happened to have my keys and my phone on me, which I never, you know, I come in, I throw this on my desk and they stay there till I'm ready to leave. But I had them both with me. So we got in the car and we drove to the other side of the building and we got a really good look of what was going on. And then I knew that was my office and we couldn't call in.

They have a thing that they call it mustering. When you, when you are, you know, supposed to be accounted for, you're supposed to muster, you're supposed to call in and say, I'm here, I'm accounted for. She couldn't call in. I couldn't call in. You know, everybody was trying to call.

So all the, the wavelengths, their communication was just shut down. Did you see your office collapse? Were you there when it collapsed or did it happen later after you left?

It happened after we left. Okay. Wow.

Unbelievable. But we were, you know, then, you know, we, we started hearing the reports on the radio, um, about the Southern plane, um, what was going on in New York. Now the Pentagon, they didn't know what else they, everything was grounded.

I'm sure. Were you in New York? You were in New York?

No, I was in Henderson at the time. We ended up going to New York still to meet because some, some of the families who were associated with that church plant actually died. So my dad still wanted to go and meet with some of the people that he knew and give them comfort. But the whole plan of starting a church sorta was dropped at that point.

And we all knew that this is it. Um, but we went, we went, uh, at the end of that week. And in fact, we were supposed to put my dad on a train to send him up north because at the time we were like, Hey, this is easy. They're going to be over there waiting for you. This is just a few hour train ride was, but then when this happened, we're like, no, we're going with you.

And we're not going to put you on a train. We're going to drive you there. And we did. And as you know, there were a lot of checkpoints and this and that was happening. And so we got there and then we were able, able to walk around. We didn't get to get close, of course, to the twin towers, but we were able to walk down the streets and, uh, I can't even begin to describe the horrific nature of the smoke and the dust and the cars crushed.

I mean, it's just, people will not believe it unless they see the pictures. Yeah. Yeah. And then the next day when we got, um, went back to work, of course we had to, you know, check in the same time that we went to work, seven 30 in the morning. And then you could smell the heavy smoke of that diesel smell throughout the Pentagon. So that was very overwhelming, overwhelming. And of course, as you walking on the outer ring, because there's A, B, C, D and E rings, the A is the smallest and the E, if you walk around the whole perimeter, that's three miles.

Um, if you go around it, so you usually have walkers in the lunchtime, just walk around, but you can see the outside courtyard that's there. And that's where they laid all the bodies where you saw the bodies in the morning. And then like, and I'm watching there. I'm like, wow, he just couldn't believe all the, you know, the white bags that they had him in and they were still looking for body parts, just, you know, to try and make men's and went to the office and make sure everything was doing okay. It's like a nightmare that keeps going. So you were back in the next day. Wow.

I often wondered about that. Cause I mean, the Pentagon can't just shut down. You know, you can't take the day off with something like the Pentagon, but then how, how to go about your daily routine 24 hours after something like this, where the, where the, like you said, the paramedics and all the emergency responders are still working, still trying to do this. And you're having to carry on.

Right. We were able to be accounted for that, that afternoon. And then we were to report back in the morning. We didn't know to what I was reassigned.

Of course she was in the military at the time. So her assignments just continued on. But yeah, we were reassigned to start setting up for the offices that had been hit that they could continue to do their job. We started collecting computers from out of closets, everywhere, tables. We found rooms that we can set stuff up, start getting back into networks, accounting for documentation in that area. They sealed that area off.

We had to go talk to security forces about what was in our areas. It was, it was pretty crazy. And then of course there was recovery efforts. They were, you know, bringing people out that had been killed.

Yeah. And trying to get accountable for the people that were gone. Cause then the next day we had President Bush Jr., if you will, did a memorial service and I stayed back in my office.

It was right outside my window. And you see all the families coming out and they're still trying to get accountable. And then they started, they had more of an accurate count of the people that were in the plane and how much were in the Pentagon.

So they're scrolling up names and stuff. And one of the secretaries that was there with me, she goes, oh, there's your friend. I'm looking out the window.

I'm like, where? I don't see him. And she goes, oh no, he passed away. That's his name. Like I had not a clue that he died. And when I first got to the Pentagon, he looked like Santa Claus because he had white hair and a big beard and James Lynch. And he would give out this, the hard, uh, what's the, I can't pronounce it.

Oh, the Carmel, the Carmel, Wadsworth or something. Yeah, it works with candy. Oh, candy.

Yeah. So everybody, you know, call him the candy man cause he'd always, you know, as I walked by his office, he'd say hi to me and I never knew his name. I always call him Santa Claus, the candy man. And he always gave me the candy and wished me a good day and stuff. And I had not a clue that he, he passed away. Cause when I was, when I wasn't at my office and he would make his rounds of who, I guess he, who he liked, I would find that piece of candy on my desk. I'm like, Oh, candy man was here. I missed him today. And, um, and sure enough, you know, the next day when I, um, uh, came to work, he had left that candy.

He had left it before the attack. Do you still have it? Yeah. I still have it. Yeah. Oh wow. I saved it.

Look how old it is. Oh, that's so special. Yep. I sure did.

I saved the last piece of candy that was left on my desk. That is incredible. Yeah. That's awesome. I was like, Oh, you must still have it at your house somewhere.

When you see it in your pocket. Wow. Wow. That's incredible.

Will you hold it up for the camera just so they can see? That's really cool. That's a lifelong treasure. Yeah. And sometimes I have a sweet tooth, but I will never eat this. Wow.

My finger in a bowl of sugar. Dr. Shah, I know you of course, and your father were both Christians at the time. Were you guys Christian at the time of the attack? How did that, how did that impact y'all's faith? You know, I mean, obviously you're still Christians. It didn't shake or break your faith completely, but how did you reconcile something so terrible with, with your faith at the time?

Yeah. From, I mean, from me, even though I was not directly involved in any way with what took place in New York or Washington, DC, or even in Pennsylvania. But it was, it was a tough time. It was a tough time. The uncertainty in our nation, the sense of fear, trepidation, you could just see that in the eyes of people and churches, you know, the next Sunday they were full. Unfortunately, they became empty because we were not prepared for them, but we saw people searching, looking for God, looking for hope, looking for answers. And it's unfortunate, but I don't think we need a tragedy for this to happen.

Right. And I hope in the future, we'll be prepared for that. But knowing that God is in control, that's what I kept preaching to our people. God is in control. Something is happening.

Pray for our leaders, pray for our military, pray for our armed forces, pray, pray, pray that God will protect us. Psalm 91 is the one Psalm that continually, that I shared with people, you know, Psalm 91 says, he who dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the almighty. And that's such a peaceful, peace-giving Psalm, scripture to me. Yeah. Yeah.

Well, I know one, one lesson I learned is, I mean, I, I know God was in control, but it also taught me that, you know, beliefs have consequences and the belief system behind what happened is pure evil. That's right. Exactly. Right. And that you, you need to know what you believe and know that it's the truth. And Christianity is founded upon the truth. Absolutely.

Absolutely. Ted, more than anything, Ted Moy is a friend of mine and a coworker of mine. He was a Christian. He perished. He was two floors below me and it had crossed my mind to go down to his office because he was working for the army.

He did for the army, what I did for the Navy. And there was a TV in his section and I'm thinking, you know, I don't know what kept me from going there and going to where Evelyn was at, but it also taught me life is precious. So thank you guys so much for, for sharing your perspective, for sharing.

I mean, we were talking about it before the episode, but nobody can share the story that the two of you have. So we are grateful not only to have you on the episode today, but to have you as part of our church family. We love you very much.

Thank you so much for being here. In the Pentagon or need information on how to take a tour, contact us and we can help you get a tour. The nice Memorial that they built. They have 184 Memorial and it's like a little curved wall like this with the water running underneath with the person's name on it and the water is lit up at nighttime. But if you were a victim of the jetliner, if you were a passenger, your name is facing the sky because that's where you perish.

If you were in the Pentagon, your name, when you read your name, it's facing the Pentagon. I had the opportunity to see it with you guys. Very special. You sense patriotism and you're proud to be and humbled to be a citizen of this nation for the sacrifices that were made. And you know is without God, we wouldn't be here.

That's right. God's hand has been upon this nation. Amen. If you guys enjoyed today's episode, if you have questions or suggestions, if you'd like to know how to get into contact with Mr. David, Ms. Evelyn Woodson, write in and let us know 252-582-5028. You can visit us online at You can partner with us financially on that same website. We love you guys. We'll see you next time on Clearview Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-27 10:54:41 / 2023-09-27 11:07:03 / 12

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