Retired Air Force Colonel shares her 9/11 story while working at Pentagon
Donna Fore remembers watching the twin towers in New York when the Pentagon was suddenly hit
ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -Donna Fore comes from a blue collar family from Austin, Texas. Her mom was a waitress, her dad served in the military, and she was a little girl with big dreams the size of her home state. Who knew that one day she would follow in her father’s footsteps.
“I joined the military in 1977, right out of college. The day I got my degree, I got my commission in the U.S. Air Force and I served there for 30 years. I retired in 2007 at the Pentagon. That was my last my last assignment,” explained Fore.
Fore always had to work extra hard to earn respect. “In the 70′s, we were just getting out of the Vietnam War and it was uncommon to have women in the military. Less than 5% of the military had women. Everywhere you went you felt like you were kind of different, isolated, and unusual. You kind of felt like a unicorn (laughs). People would stare at you like, ‘I heard there were women in the military but I’ve never seen one before’. Here I am!”
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Donna did 9 overseas deployments and served in Desert Storm and the Balkan Wars. “I was an intelligence officer so I wouldn’t have been on the front lines but I was giving information to pilots to make sure they could hit their targets and come home safely,” said Fore.
Not on the front lines then, but that changed on 9/11 while working at the pentagon. “They’re playing the loop of the first attack. The plane flies into the tower and everything blows up and the second comes in. About that time the pentagon gets hit.”
While her life was sparred, Donna lost 9 friends from the Pentagon attack. She remembers escaping the pentagon and finding a payphone to call her husband Steve.
Donna had to push herself aside and serve her country like she was trained to do. She was ordered to return to work the very next day. And while she was scarred, her country changed forever, and the pentagon in rubble, she found hope in the middle of total chaos.
“This is why I love America; Some brave Americans had found American flags and draped them over every overpass as I drove to work. It brought us hope. We’re Americans, we fight back, we’re not going to let this go by, and it just gave me so much inspiration to see those flags. People have no idea of some of the sacrifices I think of our military. Long hours, time away from family. The only thing I regret is time away from my family, missed birthdays, holiday, special events, and weddings. So much I missed away from the job.”
Due to the demands of her job, Donna never went on to have children. She became a widow in 2019 when her husband passed and just because she’s retired, don’t expect to find her lollygagging. She chooses to work and continues to help people today, but with this job her clients won’t have to drop and give 20 for a wrinkled uniform.
She helps others plan financially and she is involved in many community organizations that are centered around empowering veterans. Donna has seen many loved ones and comrades pass away, but she says there’s one thing no one can take from her-faith.
“I’m a very strong Christian. That’s gotten me through a lot of things. God found a way for us to come together as Christians and celebrate Him. It’s Gods way of making sure his flock is taken care of!”
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