BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)– 2,996 died on this day 18 years ago. Nine of those victims are from Alabama.
The world watched in horror as terrorists hijacked planes, taking down the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The plane that crashed into the Pentagon killed 125 people in the building, along with 64 passengers on the plane. One of the men working at the Pentagon was Major Dwayne Williams from Jacksonville, Alabama.
“It’s been an emotional day,” said Roy Williams, Dwayne’s brother. “It always is. It’s been 18 years. But I still remember what happened as if it was yesterday.”
Dwayne Williams was a decorated Army Major. He was a paratrooper, a ranger, and served in the Persian Gulf War. Just two months before 9/11, he was given a job at the Pentagon, where he served as the Joint Officer Distribution Manager.
“Every year around this time is a time of reflection, we try to positive times, good times. It’s a death that we can never forget,” said Roy.
The last time Roy spoke to his brother was on September 9, 2001. He was sharing the exciting news that his wife was pregnant.
“My wife was four months pregnant with Royce. And he never got to meet his uncle Dwayne,” Roy said.
Roy wrote a book, titled “911, God help us” as a way for his children to get to know their uncle. Royce, Roy’s son was not yet born on 9/11/2001, but he feels the impact that tragedy had every day.
“I believe it’s brought us closer together. Our time is precious. Nothing is promised, so we have to make the most of it,” said Royce Williams; Dwayne’s nephew.
Roy says he tries to remind people of the unity the nation felt in the time that followed Sept. 11.
“I try to let people know that even though it has been 18 years, we must never forget the sacrifice made on 9/11. When 9/11 happened, we as a country came together. We put aside politics. We put aside black, white, latino. And we realized we’re all the same: red, white and blue,” he said.
Each year, a ceremony is held in Dwayne William’s home town of Jacksonville, Alabama to remember his life and legacy. In 2002, the memorial was constructed in William’s honor.