As many Americans take this day to honor those who died 11-years ago, there's one local man who lives with the pain of the tragedy everyday of his life.
It was truly a close call for Texas State Senator Brian Birdwell who escaped death by only a few seconds.
Then a Lieutenant Colonel, Birdwell was working as a military aid at the Pentagon.
As Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, he only thought of his family, and his death.
For Brian Birdwell the morning began with a wave goodbye to his son, and a quick peck on the cheek of his wife.
"It started off like any day in Washington DC, " said Senator Birdwell.
But this day would end in way he could never imagine in his worst nightmare.
"I stepped out and went to the men's restroom, and told Shirley and Sandy I'd be back momentarily, and those were the last words I'd speak to my two coworkers," said Senator Birdwell.
Just after 9:30, just 50 feet from where he was standing, Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.
"I heard the sound and had just half a nanosecond to think bomb or explosion. It was instantaneously deafening," said Senator Birdwell.
Where his office once stood, was now a fiery war-zone.
"I'd gone from a well lit hallway and in charge of my faculty and completely aware of my surroundings, to being set a blaze," said Senator Birdwell.
With 60 percent of his body burned, 40 percent of it 3rd degree, Birdwell made his peace with God.
"As I lay there waiting to die I thought about Mel and Matt and how I had said goodbye to them that morning," said Senator Birdwell.
And with the future of his wife and son playing through his mind.
Every ounce of strength and will to survive, gave him the power to stumble through the hallway, to find four men who would save his life.
"I mean the physical pain of being burned is terrible, but in relationship to recognizing that your dying and that's how your going to spend your last moments on earth. Burns were insignificant of the terror that grabs your heart," said Senator Birdwell.