WECT's Jim Hanchett Recalls September 11th

WECT EXCLUSIVE -- Family and friends of those who lost loved ones gathered at the Pentagon to remember the 184 people who died, when terrorists flew a plane into the building on September 11, 2001.

As many people still were still trying to make sense of the attack on America on that fateful day five years ago, WECT anchor Jim Hanchett -- at the time an NBC News correspondent -- was standing outside the Pentagon, keeping viewers across the nation up to date on the situation, that he, too, had to let sink in.

"This country has never been bombed from above before. Things have never fallen from the sky on us, and that morning they were," said Hanchett. "No one knew what was going to happen next. It was eerie and perhaps as frightening a moment as you could have, driving along and wanting to see what was about to happen."

Once the terrorists' plans unfolded, Hanchett realized that it could have hit much closer to home.

"We found out that the hijackers wanted to hit the Capitol," said Hanchett.  "If I had been to work early that day, or they had been late, or they hadn't been stopped in Pennsylvania, who knows if I would be alive today?"

Grateful that the plan did not play out, Hanchett's gratitude grew as he met people with a different story.

"You start meeting people whose lives were changed in an instant that morning, and you become incredibly grateful for what you have," Hanchett said, "and angry at the people you don't know and who have no argument with having taken away the people you care about."

There was a moment when Hanchett realized the attacks were over, but that fateful morning will be with him and many others each year, when September 11 comes around.

Reported by Sarah Warlick