Sunday, September 10, 2006

9/11: Survivor tells her story

We all remember where we were on the day of the 9/11 attacks. Some of us were 2,000 miles away from the epicenter, but that day is no less ingrained in our memories and in our hearts. Now imagine being there during the first attack [bombing] on February 26, 1993, living through it, and then again on September 11, 2001 and surviving that as well. Such is the case for Cuban-American Elia Zedeno.
"I had worked in the North Tower since 1980, and was trapped in an elevator in the 1993 bombing for about an hour," said Zedeno.
It seems like that first attack in 1993 prepared Zedeno with survival instincts for what would inevitably save her life in the 2001 attack.
Zedeno recalls it being a snowy day, and instead of going out to lunch, she picked something up and was on her way back to the office. She got caught in the elevator during the bombing.

She was trapped with at least five other people for about an hour.

"I had no idea what had happened; all I knew was that the doors would not open," said Zedeno. "[My mind] was jumping back and forth. It went from totaling going berserk, where I could hear my heart beating, to completely calm and thinking I am hoping this thing is not big enough to be covered on TV, and if it is, I hope my parents aren't watching."

The morning of Sept. 11, Zedeno was working at her desk on the 73rd Floor of the North Tower.

"I heard a very loud sound followed by the building shaking, and I knew something was wrong," said Zedeno. "I started screaming and headed for the stairs. I immediately thought of 1993 and by the time I got to the stairway I was screaming, 'Not again, God, not again!' "

As she was coming down the stairwell in what first seemed to be mass panic, Zedeno ran into a colleague who stopped her and attempted to calm her down.

"At that moment I knew I had to conserve my energy if I was going to make it out," said Zedeno.

Read the whole story [here].


ziva said...

Incredibly powerful testimony of survival. Thanks Orlando.

A. Perales said...

Thank you for this post. Last night The Discovery Channel had a program about some folks who recounted their ordeal, too.