‘This couldn’t have been an accident’: On scene FBI agent remembers 9/11 attacks

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Twenty years ago Saturday, thousands lost their lives to the Sept. 11 attacks.

Al-Qaeda terrorist hijackers took over four planes, crashing them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

“My name’s Bobby Hamil, I was with the FBI on 9/11 in 2001.”

It was business as usual for FBI Agent Hamil on the Monday before the world flipped upside down.

Hamil had worked for the bureau for 18 years. At the time of 9/11, he was a Supervisory Special Agent at the Criminal Justice Services Division in West Virginia.

He didn’t anticipate what he would see when he turned on the television on Sept. 11.

“The first thought, like everyone, is what a horrible accident and what a strange accident on a beautiful sunny day and then while we were watching the second plane hit the other Trade Center building too and again majority of viewers thinking this couldn’t have been an accident,” Hamil said.

Soon he learned it was no accident at all

“One of the first functions, when the body bags were brought and were unzipped to go through and get fingerprints off of the victims,” Hamil said.

He saw the burn victims firsthand. Hamil had received a United States pen when first arriving on the scene of the 9/11 attacks. He still keeps to this day to never forget the heinous attacks.

As bodies kept coming out, their condition just got worse he explained. As he and lab specialists went through the grueling bodies, he made a memorable discovery that would stick with him for the rest of his life.

“He pulls up a ring that he found in the remains and he says, ‘Bobby how old do you think this guy is?’ It’s a University of Texas College ring and it had 1975 on the side which is the same year I graduated college,” Hamil said. “That stood out more than anything because it was just such a unique and unusual coincidence.”

Over time, he believes the memory of that tragic day hits harder as many remember and retell what happened.

Reflecting on these memories on the 20th anniversary, Hamil wants people to always stay alert but never forget what happened on Sept. 11.

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