Tyrrell native and 9/11 Pentagon survivor, goes to Guantanamo Bay to observe proceedings against alleged terrorists

Published 3:11 pm Thursday, September 13, 2018

Tyrrell County native Tony Rose, his wife Beverly, and eight other Victim Witness Program family members are in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, this week to attend pre-trial hearings in the case against Khalid Shaikh Mohammad and four other men accused of masterminding the 9/11 attacks.

Rose, a retired U.S. Army sergeant major now living in Kentucky, gave this account of that fateful day 17 years ago:

“On 09-11-01, American Airlines Flight 77 exploded directly under my Pentagon G1 Military Personnel office, instantly killing 29 of my fellow soldiers, co-workers and friends.

“After rescuing people on the second floor, I moved downstairs to lead rescue efforts between the C and B rings, and within the Pentagon’s first floor. I was one of the first five people to reach the carnage of plane fragments, burning building debris and body parts splattered against the B ring wall.

“I am an eyewitness for the prosecution to the fact that an airliner (and not a missile as some misguided people choose to believe) was used to murder people on American soil.”

Rose received the Army Soldier’s Medal for Heroism for reentering the burning building five times saving lives and the Purple Heart for personal injuries incurred.

Rose emphasized that he is not a witness in a trial this week. He is there to observe pre-trial hearings and “provide the prosecution team a first-hand account of what I saw and did that day. The terrorists’ defense will want to ask me their own questions. They will not like to hear the truth that I saw, heard, felt, and lived that day, nor about the nightmares and loss both Bev and I’ve dealt with since then.

“I have waited a long time to look directly into the eyes of the murderers who proudly profess their part in killing Americans. My Lord commands that I forgive them. He commands me to love them. Those two commandments have been a long, hard process for me. I think I have forgiven them. I strive to see and love their eternal souls. I even pray that someday they will seek forgiveness. However, I don’t have to like them.”

Rose said he strives to use the lessons learned on 9/11, plus in his 31-year military career, 43 years of marriage, a professional career as a licensed therapist, Tyrrell County 4-H, and a good moral Christian upbringing to help people see hope and kindness towards others.

He and others intend to participate in a 9.11-kilometer run/walk in Gitmo on Sept. 11.

“Our families and yours will be in our thoughts on Tuesday, and we hope that you will keep us in yours as we do our best to honor the victims, survivors, families, co-workers, and friends that must never be forgotten.”

Rose concluded, “Remember 09/11/01, stand tall when Ole Glory passes by, take a moment to say a prayer for America! And please say one for us!”