BY CATHY FREE
"When I realized that I was looking at the same gentleman, I started to cry and told him I was so grateful that he was still alive," Maness tells PEOPLE. "We hugged each other and neither of us could believe that we were talking again. What are the odds?"
Medical personnel load wounded Pentagon worker into an ambulance outside the Pentagon on September 11, 2001Every day for almost 15 years, Col. Rob Maness wondered about the badly-burned man he'd tried to keep conscious on a gurney after terrorists flew a 757 airliner into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
JOURNALIST 1ST CLASS MARK D. FARAM / U.S. NAVY / GETTY IMAGES
Did he make it? Was he still alive? Was he able to fully recover and live a happy and fulfilling life?
"It's something I've always thought about, but I never had an answer," Maness, 54, now living in Madisonville, Louisiana, and running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican, tells PEOPLE. "It was always a mystery."
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