Antionette M. Sherman
Hometown: Forest Heights, Md., USA
Occupation: Budget analyst, U.S. Army
Location: Ground, Pentagon
Doctors gave Army budget analyst Antionette Sherman two days to live after she was burned over 70 percent of her body when Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11.
Sherman, 35, died of her injuries early yesterday. But loved ones said the extra days they had with her were a gift.
"She knew we were there. She would move her head," said Vincent Edwards, 39, Sherman's close friend, who was in the waiting room at Washington Hospital Center's burn unit when she died. "She knew she wasn't alone."
Sherman's parents, Eloise and Charles Clark; Edwards; her foster son; and others had also begun to hope that she might pull through. Sherman was lucid when she was wheeled into the hospital shortly after the attack, authorities told her family. But after surgery a few hours later, she never opened her eyes again.
"I had just talked to her about 8:45 a.m. at her office," said Angela Walker, Sherman's best friend. "We were preparing to go on a cruise next month, and she was coordinating it. We were making plans."
As Sherman lay in the hospital last week, Walker tried unsuccessfully to get the travel agency to delay the trip. "We were concerned she wouldn't be well enough to travel by then, but they wouldn't give us a postponement. They were awful about it. They probably won't do it now either."
Yesterday, friends gathered in the living room of Sherman's Forest Heights home with her beloved dogs, Oreo and Rex, and waited for her foster son to get off the school bus so they could break the news to him.
On the sofa lay a note from friend Karen Johnson, who had sent over an Aretha Franklin gospel CD earlier this week. She asked Sherman to listen to two songs: "God Will Take Care of You" and "Give Yourself to Jesus."
"Toni, I know you are afraid . . . but I'm here to tell you it's okay to be afraid," the note began.
It ended: "Please, don't give up."
-- Avis Thomas-Lester
Source: The Washington Post, AP and washingtonpost.com
The profiles in this feature were written in the months following Sept. 11, 2001.
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