By Lydia Tilbury Hair
Originally published Thursday, September 13, 2001
Bessie Bell Watson of Decatur spent most of Tuesday morning anxiously watching her daughter, Beth Addington, continually redial the telephone.
The call was to the cell phone of Watson’s son who works in a building across from the Pentagon.
“She just came in and said, ‘We are gonna find him.’ My husband was out of town, so it was just me and her.” Watson said, her voice filled with the relief of a mother who had just found out her son was safe amidst the rubble, smoke and fire of one of America’s greatest tragedies. “And she kept pushing redial on that phone.”
Finally, Watson was able to hear the voice of her son, Randy Watson, 42, who works for the U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Operations Support Communication.
According to Watson, that office does the same work in foreign countries that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does in America.
The son’s words to his mother were short and to the point – what you might expect from someone practically at ground zero of the attack on the Pentagon.
“I am fine but I am in a disaster zone. I am extremely busy,” he told her.
That was enough for his mom.
“I just wanted to hear his voice,” she said. “You think everything is going to be fine, but until you hear his voice, you just can’t rest. Knowing his office is just right across the street is very scary.”
Another happy ending came for the family of Doug Elliott, who is contractor on a building project for First United Methodist Church in Decatur. His son works inside the Pentagon. Pastor Rusty Hedges asked for prayer for the man and his family and others with relatives close to the tragedy during a special prayer service held Tuesday at noon.
Hedges, when contacted Tuesday afternoon, said that Elliott had heard from his son. He was unhurt by the blast that rocked the Pentagon when a plane slammed into the building.
Look for more of WCMessenger.com’s special 9/11 tribute at www.wcmessenger.com/911.