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Pilot's family mourns 9-11 loss

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image ap"><span>AP</span></div><span class="caption-text">Dignitaries including Vice President Cheney and first lady Laura Bush, front row, right, bow their heads in prayer during a memorial for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008, on the seventh anniversary of the attacks at the Pentagon. (Gerald Herbert)</span></div>
September 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A local man was the pilot of the jet that slammed into the Pentagon seven years ago Thursday. While the nation holds a yearly observance, the family of Charles Burlingame remembers it each and every day.They are images that horrified a nation. And ones that still haunt those who were closest to the victims. Of the nearly 3,000 people killed on 9-11, 64 of them were on board American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon exactly seven years ago.

"For me, quite frankly, it's something that I think about every single day," said Brad Burlingame.

Brad Burlingame lost his brother, commercial pilot Charles Burlingame, on September 11th, 2001. The Boeing 757 he was piloting that morning departed Dulles International Airport at 8:20 a.m., bound for LAX. The plane would be hijacked fewer than 30 minutes later. And at 9:37, one hour and 17 minutes after takeoff, it slammed into the Pentagon, killing a total of 189 people on board and on the ground.

"Because this was the kind of tragedy it was, and a lot of people lost their lives, not just my brother. Children were killed. That makes it hard," said Burlingame.

Also hard for the family was knowing that Charles Burlingame was flying back to his native Southern California just in time for his September 12th birthday.

"He liked to fly back to Southern California, as all the planes were that day, and he was coming here because he wanted to go to an Angels baseball game, so, that's what the plans were," said Burlingame.

As officials dedicate the first 9-11 national memorial at the Pentagon today, the Burlingame family makes plans to visit the site, channeling their loved one's strength and courage to get them through another year.

"It's a hard thing," said Burlingame. "It's very, very difficult. But we're Americans and we move forward."

 

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