20th Anniversary of 9/11 Attack, Word Trade Center
On the 20th anniversary of the World Trade Center 9/11 attack, a miraculous escape story.
Roselle, the yellow Labrador, awoke trembling and yelping in terror that September night. Her owner, Michael Hingson, had to carry her down the stairs to his basement to shield her under his desk, as he always did when a thunderstorm was coming. Hours later, the guide dog would assist Hingson, who was born blind, in descending the 78th floor of New York's World Trade Center (WTC) to safety, just minutes after terror group Al Qaeda crash-landed a jet, American Airlines Flight 11, through tower 1. (North Tower).Some 2,750 people died in New York and thousands were injured, the repercussions of that attack rippling across nations over the decades.
Hingson, a public speaker, is currently working on a programme called "Blinded by Fear" to teach individuals how to manage their fears while also fostering trust and teamwork. The California resident relates the incredible storey of a blind man, a guide dog, and a triumph of trust near ground zero, twenty years after that day of horror that transformed world politics forever.
The pink and crisp dawn of September 11 had burst out. It was a big day at work; he was presenting a trainee sales seminar at the WTC with a colleague from California, David Frank, as the regional sales manager for a data protection firm called Quantum ATL. Guests were ushered to the breakfast area when they arrived. When everything started, Roselle was sound asleep under his desk.“I guess most people say it was at 8.46 am.” The building shook and began to tip. Hingson thought it was the end. “We thought the building was going to fall to the street. Buildings like that are flexible as they are made to move around in windstorms. But certainly, nothing like this had ever happened before,” he said.
When he returned to his office, Roselle shook. ”I took her leash and taught her to 'heel,' which means to turn around and sit on my left side.” Things pushing against the window and guests' terrified screams could be heard by Hingson. “David claimed he saw fire and burned papers. 'Michael, the building is about to collapse down; we need to get out,' he said. “You don't comprehend, you can't see it,” David said, seeing Hingson's serene demeanour. Hingson, on the other hand, had observed something that David hadn't.
“Roselle wasn’t nervous. She was sitting next to me and not reacting at all. There was fire and things falling but it wasn’t so close to affecting her, which told me, we didn’t need to panic. We needed to evacuate in an orderly way. The problem with most people is they think that if you’re blind, you can’t do those things. To see isn’t just with the eyes. They don’t even imagine ever doing anything without eyesight. And so they fear being blind, fear going blind.”
Hingson contacted his wife Karen while David was escorting their visitors to the stairwell. “I had woken her up and she had no clue about what was going on. It was just two minutes after the building had first started to tip.” He told her that there was some explosion of some sort. “She was alone at home that day, waiting to hear from me, watching television images, trying to process it. To this day, she avoids the 9/11 news flood,” he says.
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