By all accounts, Robert Penninger was an exceptional man with a steadfast love of family, country, and life. An electrical engineer for BAE Systems, the Poway, California resident was 63 years-old when his plane -- American Flight 77 -- was crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
His wife, Janet Penninger, later described her husband to the Washington Post:
"Bob Penninger loved life, always living it to the fullest. He always tried to find humor in any situation. Bob also loved cars. In high school, he was always tinkering with the cars he and his friends owned, fine-tuning them to get more speed. So it seemed only natural that he buy a 1999 electric green Cobra Mustang with thoughts of making it into a show car. He added many Saleen extras including a speedster cover, spoiler and ground effects. He had a supercharger installed, as well as having the car lowered, putting on wider tires and a roll bar. He enjoyed every moment driving and showing this car and won a trophy at every car show he entered."
Among the entries for Penninger on the Legacy.com Guest Book, are these beautiful tributes:
To the family of Robert Penninger:
Robert gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. My deepest sympathy to you. We must never forget!
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers, Carson City, Nevada
Bob was a friend and co-worker for many years, working on military projects that had terrific humanitarian applications. He was very excited about that because it would save so many from injury or death. Bob was a fine man who loved his family dearly. I miss his humor and kindness.
Dave Hunsaker,Ramona, California
As I cross-stitched your name on the memorial that I am doing for all of the victims, I prayed for you and your family. Please know that your death was not in vain. We will always remember. God Bless.
May Robert Penninger, and all victims of 9/11 rest in peace in God's presence. And may those of us left behind always remember their heroism, and live a life worthy of their sacrifice. God bless America and her fallen heroes.