9/11 survivor dies three days after anniversary

Salmon Creek man lost his wife in Pentagon attack

By Tom Vogt, Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter



People with local ties give first-hand accounts of attacks

People with local ties give first-hand accounts of attacks

A survivor of 9/11, who lost his wife in the terrorist attacks, died three days after attending Sunday’s memorial event at the Pentagon.

Floyd Rasmussen died of kidney failure Wednesday morning in his Salmon Creek home. He was 69.

Floyd and Rhonda Rasmussen were both working in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, when hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the building. Rhonda’s office was directly in the path of the Boeing 757 moving at 530 mph.

Floyd shared the story of his wife’s death and his survival with Columbian readers as part of Sunday’s 9/11 coverage.

On Friday, he flew to Washington, D.C. for the weekend’s 10th-anniversary ceremonies. Floyd was accompanied by Brenda, his wife of nine years, and son Jeremiah, one of four children he had with Rhonda.

“It was one of the last things he wanted to do,” Brenda said.

And it was a memorable trip, she said. Each of the 184 people killed at the Pentagon is remembered with a memorial bench, and Brenda photographed Floyd at the bench bearing Rhonda’s name.

“He was honored by the President,” said Brenda, who was at her husband’s side when President Barack Obama shook Floyd’s hand.

He also met First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Floyd was able to reconnect with some old friends, and the Rasmussens also met other survivors and families of victims.

“We had a big weekend,” Brenda said. “I was exhausted.”

Transplant planned

Floyd’s health problems had to be factored into their travel plans, Brenda said.

He underwent dialysis three times a week in Portland because of his kidney problems.

Floyd was able to get into Friday’s session at 6 a.m. — 30 minutes ahead of schedule — so they could get to the airport by noon, Brenda said.

As a kidney patient, Floyd’s liquid intake was restricted, she said.

He wore a suit and tie at a Sunday morning event, then decided to wear something cooler for an afternoon event. With the temperature climbing, he changed into what Brenda called “a Magnum P.I. shirt.” Not as dressy as a suit, she observed, but Floyd replied: “The President might appreciate it, since he’s from Hawaii.”

After returning home on Monday, the Rasmussens were looking forward to another big event this week.

Brenda was going to donate a kidney to her husband. They’d planned a session Thursday with his doctor to talk about the transplant, she said.

Tom Vogt: 360-735-4558 or tom.vogt@columbian.com.