Editor’s Scratchpad

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Private citizens,
public bravery

Tales of heroism from last Sept. 11 continue. On Monday, the Defense Department will award the Medal of Valor, its highest award to civilians for courage and valor, to two private citizens for their actions after a hijacked airlines crashed into the Pentagon that fateful morning.

Eric M. Jones was driving in the vicinity of the Pentagon when he saw American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon. He stopped his car and made his way to the impact area. By this time, the initial response firefighters had arrived and were trying to stop the blaze. Jones saw one fireman in grave danger on a ladder; his suit on fire. Without hesitation, Jones pulled the burning fireman from the ladder to safety. Jones then entered the building through the impact opening and began helping people.

Steve A. DeChiaro was entering the building for a meeting when the plane struck. Under hazardous conditions, rather than seeking safety for himself, he proceeded to the impact area and began carrying people to safety and medical triage.

--Richard Halloran

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