'I couldn't believe it -- I still can't,' husband says

by Rudi Williams

WASHINGTON Shortly after terrorists slammed commercial airplanes into the two World Trade Center towers in New York City, Abraham Scott�s office phone rang. It was his wife, Janice Marie Scott, calling.

Had he heard about the incident at the World Trade Center? she asked.

"No," he answered.

After they chatted for a couple of minutes, Janice Scott, an Army budget analyst at the Pentagon, said she couldn�t talk any longer because she wanted to watch or listen to the news.

The next tragic news Abraham Scott heard was that a hijacked airliner had crashed into the Pentagon. Janice Marie Scott is among the Army personnel listed as unaccounted for.

"I couldn�t believe it � still can�t believe it," Scott said sadly, during a Defense Department Family (Casualty) Assistance Center-sponsored visit to the crash site Sept. 15. "Especially impacting on my wife, because I�d just spoken to her about 15 to 30 minutes prior to the plane hitting the Pentagon."

"I don�t know exactly where she was upon the impact, but at least I had an opportunity to talk to her a few minutes before the impact occurred," Scott said.

Abraham Scott and daughters with picture board of Janice Scott Abraham Scott and his daughters, Crystal and Angel, hold a picture board of wife and mother Janice Scott, who worked at the Pentagon in the area destroyed in the crash of a hijacked airliner Sept. 11. Family members who wished to do so were escorted by Defense Department Family (Casualty) Assistance Center personnel to visit the crash site Sept. 15. Janice Scott was confirmed dead in the DoD casualty update Oct. 8.

When he heard a plane had crashed into the Pentagon, he immediately called his wife to see if she was all right. "There was no answer," he said. "My other reaction was to try to get to the Pentagon to find out what was going on."

He rushed from his downtown office in the National Cemetery Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs here to the Metro subway and boarded a train for the Pentagon. The train halted at the Rosslyn (Va.) station, two stops early.

"We had to come out of the Metro tunnel and catch a bus," Scott said. The bus�s first stop was supposed to be just past the Pentagon, but it was diverted instead to Crystal City, a high-rise business area in Arlington, Va., about a mile from the building.

He walked to the Pentagon parking lot where his wife usually parked their car, but he was unable to reach the site.

"I called my home number and got the answering machine. Then I knew something was definitely wrong," Scott said.

When he learned the subway trains were running again, he rushed to a station, got on the first one that came along and rode it to the end of the line in Springfield, Va. Then he took a taxi home.

He said he thought about driving his other car back to the Pentagon, but his sister called from Pennsylvania and persuaded him to stay home, listen to the news and wait for a call.

"I just waited. We�d called all the hospitals and there wasn�t a Janice Scott checked in," Scott said. "So all I could do was wait and pray and hope for the best. Didn�t get any news until late that night."

Fighting back tears, he continued. "I�d be untruthful if I told you that I�m doing well," he said, figuring it�s due to the grace of God he�s been able to cope. "I�m a born-again Christian, and I�m leaning on the Lord�s shoulders to help me get through it."

The couple has two daughters, Crystal Marie, 23, and Angel Marie, 15.

"It�s devastating," he said sadly. "Being a Christian man, I have no hate or malice against those who perpetrated this or (were) involved in the execution of the action. I have pity for them. Pity them to allow someone or some group to persuade them to do such a despicable cowardly act.

"I�m standing on my faith in God to pull me through this," Scott said.

Mr. Williams writes for American Forces Press Service.

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