A man who survived the September 11th attack on the Pentagon was the keynote speaker at this morning’s Iowa Prayer Breakfast. Lieutenant Colonel Brian Birdwell’s office was in the path of the airliner, but he was just exiting the men’s room when the plane smashed into the Pentagon. Birdwell says “you do not survive an 80 ton airliner traveling at over 350 miles an hour, slamming into the building with over 10 thousand gallons of Jet A jet fuel petroleum, 20 yards away from you, you do not survive it because you’ve been to Ranger school or special ops school or some other physically-challenging military environment. You survive it because the Lord has a plan for your life.” Birdwell says “there are not sufficient words in the English language to describe for you the experience I was going through at the moment of impact,” but he says the fire that consumed a “good chunk” of his body was like an “Earthly hell.” Birdwell says he felt a sense of peace that washed over him when he thought he’d soon be dying and going to spend eternity with his lord. Birdwell was burned on 60 percent of his body and has undergone over 30 operations since 9/11. About 700 Iowans gathered in the Polk County Convention Center for the prayer breakfast to hear Birdwell’s story.
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