CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Inside the Pentagon, past the heavily armed guards and high-tech security stations, is a deeply moving and spiritual place where the name of Shelley A. Marshall is displayed in honor.
Marshall was in some respect like any other up-and-coming professional American in that she was modest but extremely capable.
She embodied a work ethic dedicated to seeking perfection that led to a prestigious position within the Defense Intelligence Agency despite her comparative youth to her peers.
This dedication spilled over to motherhood where as the young wife of husband Donn Marshall, of Morgantown, Shelley set about raising their two very young children to whom she read every night.
On 9/11/01, from just downriver in Crystal City, Va., Donn witnessed events as they unfolded in a manner not unlike most Americans that day, at least initially.
As an analyst also with the DIA, Donn soon realized that not only were his associates at the Pentagon in harm's way but also Shelley, with whom he had just been on a call.
In the ensuing rush to ensure the safety of his children, Donn somehow managed to return to the Pentagon and served in the heartrending relief effort as a stretcher bearer.
Minutes seemed hours and hours were as if days as the process of dealing with the unknown turned into the overwhelming realization that Shelley was among the missing.
That night, as the miasmic shock and devastation of 9/11 would become seared into the national conscience and galvanize a sense of family across America, the Marshall family would instead search hospitals as 9/11 became 9/12 and then 9/13.