SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — From Shanksville to Washington, D.C. One man who was working at the Pentagon on this day in 2001 is now the president of Lackawanna College. He shared his story of survival during the attack.
A lot of students on campus were born in 2001 when the attacks happened. The remembrance ceremony is to never forget and honor past, current and future first responders.
“It is a huge building and yet somehow they managed to find me on that day,” Colonel Mark Volk, Army veteran and current president of Lackawanna College said.
Volk was 1 of 100 employees trying to help fellow co-workers escape the Pentagon attack. He worked for four years as chief in the strategic leadership division and is now president of Lackawanna College. Volk was on the third floor when the plane struck at 9:37 a.m.
“Had that plane not hit the ground first, I would not be standing here talking to you today. I mean it literally went right under our office space,” Volk said.
With no time to act, Volk started to help people make their way outside at the same time looking for victims.
“At one time, two of us were kicking a door trying to get it open. It was one door we could not get open,” Volk said.
Volk later learned people behind that door most likely died on impact.
“To this day, I still feel guilty I didn’t give that door one more kick. That we left them behind,” Volk said.
Lackawanna College has held this remembrance annually for the past five years. As they reflect 18 years later, everyone knows where they were on this day in 2001.
“I remember I was in my third-grade class and it was obviously early in the morning and I remember our teachers kind of getting an announcement over the loudspeakers and they asked us to go out in the hallway,” Vincent Scipione, captain of the Lackawanna College police academy cadets, said.
Scipione is one of several college police academy cadets who are standing in attention.
“We’re all here to show respect for everyone who has fallen. Officers, EMS and emergency services on that day,” Scipione said.
“And put their lives on the line in order to save others,” Volk added.
Volk will retire as Lackawanna College president this school year. This comes after serving 26 years in the U.S. Army. 60 years before the attack on the Pentagon, construction started on the Department of Defense on September 11, 1941.