Lancaster – September 11, 2001 was a day that changed the lives of all Americans. But, Mike Blythe experienced the terrorist attacks 12 years ago differently than others because he was working for the Department of Defense at the time.
"My old office was one wedge away from where the plane hit the Pentagon," said Blythe. "It was a day that changed everything."
Blythe currently works on the Ohio University Lancaster Campus in the Procurement Technical Assistance Center. The Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs recently opened the center in Brasee Hall to help local businesses navigate the process of securing government contracts.
Before working as a PTAC procurement specialist, Blythe worked for the Department of Defense as a political advisor for European command. At the time of the 9/11 attacks, Blythe was stationed in Stuttgart, Germany. He had been transferred there from Washington D.C. where his office was located at the Pentagon.
"I flew back and forth from Stuttgart to the Pentagon often," said Blythe. "I was at the Pentagon for a week-long visit right before the 9/11 attacks."
Blythe said his job and focus changed after 9/11. Thankfully, no one he knew at the Pentagon was killed in the attack.
"I went back to the Pentagon two and a half weeks after the attack on other business," said Blythe. "It was just horrific."
Blythe retired a couple of years after 9/11 but, it's a day that he will never forget.
"It's always a day that sticks out on my calendar," said Blythe. "It was a sad day and we're still living with the ramifications of that day."
Flags are flying at half-staff on the Lancaster Campus in observance of Patriot Day.