Rhonda Sue Rasmussen
Hometown: Woodbridge, Va., USA
Occupation: Civilian employee, U.S. Army
Location: Ground, Pentagon
"In our church we believe that when people get married they are wed for all time and eternity. She always found great comfort in that; it gave us both comfort. The marriage certificate symbolizes our eternal union. We had it framed and it hung above our bed for 27 years. It's a beautiful promise. . . . I don't see how people can live without it. Now it brings back so many memories. She looked so radiant that day, Nov. 23, 1974." --Floyd A. Rasmussen, husband
Rhonda Sue Ridge Rasmussen, 44, learned Sept. 10 that she had been awarded the transfer to California she was seeking. Her husband, Floyd, who also works at the Pentagon, said they thought about staying home Sept. 11 to celebrate and plan for their November move, but their sense of duty led them to work.
He will go to California alone now, and he won't have Rhonda to read to him along the way. "She read to me, anything," Floyd Rasmussen said. "We just started reading Harry Potter; we'd read to each other or she'd read as we drove."
Floyd Rasmussen was one floor above and one corridor over from where Flight 77 tore into his office building and his life. He said he was able to evacuate immediately and assumed that Rhonda would be able to also. Instead, he spent the day wandering the area calling out her name.
"She sacrificed as much as any soldier in any war," he said.
The Rasmussens, both civilian Army employees, had traveled the globe in their combined 39 years of service. Rhonda, a budget analyst, particularly enjoyed their three stints in Germany, but her favorite place, said Floyd, "was wherever she happened to be with me and me with her."
"She had a big smile, sparkling blue eyes," Rasmussen said. "She was a big woman, big of heart, big smile, willing to listen, laugh at you, put you at ease."
Rasmussen said he and the couple's four children -- Nathan, 25, Jeremiah, 24, Thaddaus, 22, and Rebekkah, 19 -- have dedicated their lives to her memory. "She is the most important person in our lives," he said.
-- Steven Ginsberg
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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