"In some ways, it feels like it's been longer than 10 years and then in some ways, it seems like it was just yesterday."

For ReNee Troy-Mebane, 38, the loss of her father on 9/11 is a wound that's still healing. In her case, she said in a phone interview Wednesday evening, time didn't necessarily heal her wounds, but they are "a little less raw."

In September 2001, Staff Sgt. Willie Troy had been living in Aberdeen for nine months with his wife Judy Troy and working as a program analyst at the Pentagon. The military environment wasn't new to Sgt. Troy, who was drafted into the Army at 19-years-old during the Vietnam War, as previously reported by The Aegis.

But when a hijacked airliner hit a section of the Pentagon on 9/11, Sgt. Troy, 51 at the time, was one of 125 people who died.


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"I just remember kind of sitting there all night, just kind of waiting and expecting to hear from my mom and from him," Troy-Mebane said, "and I just never heard from them."

Her and her then-boyfriend, who is now her husband, made the decision that if they hadn't heard anything by the next morning, on Sept. 12, they would make the drive from North Carolina to Maryland.

Once they got toAberdeen, she said, the waiting game began.

The family didn't know about the Pentagon Family Assistance Center that was set up until about a week after the attack, and when they did finally make it there, officials announced that everyone who had survived had been identified.

"That's basically how we found out that he was definitely one of the casualties," Troy-Mebane said.

Even then, however, because her father's remains hadn't been identified, the family still waited, and part of her held out hope.

All the waiting, Troy-Mebane added, was "awful."

"You wake up in the morning after a couple hours of sleep," she said. "You sleep by the TV, you keep waiting for the phone to ring, you keep waiting for someone to show up by the door."

As an only child, Troy-Mebane said the waiting was especially hard, as her boyfriend was unable to take time off of work and it was just she and her mother going through it.

On Sept. 30, 2001, Sgt. Troy's remains were finally identified, his daughter said, and on Oct. 16, the family held a funeral.

With the discovery of her father came a feeling of relief because the waiting was over, but on some level, Troy-Mebane said, there was a part of her that didn't want to give up on him.

"It was the end of the waiting, that's what was good about it, that the uncertainty was gone out of it," she said, "but at the same time, my dad is dead. It was not good in that sense. It was very painful."

After the October funeral in North Carolina, Sgt. Troy's hometown, Troy-Mebane said the family received another call about a second funeral service in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia for those who died in the Pentagon attacks.

Moving on

Since then, Troy-Mebane has kept true to her beliefs, living her life as best as she can and not wasting any time.

"To me, it's a dishonor to waste the time that you have here not doing anything when those people who were lost can't be here by no choice of their own," she said.