Ten years after the World Trade Center attacks, WNYC's 10th Anniversary Special explores New Yorkers’ most visceral and immediate emotional reactions to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and how they are – and are not - still with us today.
David Donovan was on the 87th floor of the North Tower on 9/11. He was a stock broker with May Davis Group. After the planes hit, he walked down all 87 flights and emerged from the building just as the South Tower collapsed. In the WNYC special Living 9/11, he talks about how his experience sent his life in a different direction. On 9/11, Donovan lived in Morris Plains, N.J. Now he lives in Lynbrook, N.Y.
Jillian Suarez had just turned nine when her dad, a New York City cop, was killed in the World Trade Center attacks. In the WNYC special Living 9/11, she and her mom, Carmen Suarez, debate the merits of talking about their loss. You can hear her whole radio story, produced with WNYC's Radio Rookies, here.
Chris Baumann is a retired police officer who was at work downtown when the Towers collapsed. His wife, Anne Baumann, said as soon as Chris got home, she knew he needed help. When she heard a therapist talking on the radio about counseling, she called him. In WNYC's special Living 9/11, the couple visits Dr. Darryl Feldman to talk about how 9/11 is still getting in their way.
Dr. Yuval Neria has spent the last decade researching New Yorker’s emotional responses to traumatic events at Columbia University. He's Israeli and fought in the Arab Israeli war of 1973. He was severely burned, many close friends were killed and some were captured - so he says he has a personal interest in understanding the effect of extreme trauma on human beings. In the WNYC special Living 9/11, he tells about his research: looking at the brains of people who can't let go of traumatic memories.
Erin Reeg and her sister Allison lived in Stony Point, N.Y., on 9/11. They were 11 and 13. Their father, Robert Reeg, was a New York City firefighter and, when the Towers came down, he survived with a punctured lung and broken ribs. In the WNYC special Living 9/11, Erin and Allison talk about how they reacted.
Eric Leinung was 12 when his big brother, Paul, was killed. He worked on the 100th floor of the World Trade Center and didn't make it out on September 11, 2001. When adolescents are faced with a traumatic event, research shows that they often vent their feelings through aggression and rage. In WNYC's special Living 9/11, and in his full Radio Rookies story, Eric tells how he spent his teen years fighting — sometimes physically — with his mom. And how, 10 years after the Twin Towers collapsed, he and his family have found a way through their loss. They live in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
Norhan Basuni divides her life into the time before September 11, and the time after. For her, it is the day that she, an ordinary 7th grader, became a symbol of Islam — of "them" — and to some, of terrorism.
Osama Zeidan is a car salesman, and when he's working he goes by the name Sam. That's because almost 10 years ago, he and three other Palestinian-American spring-breakers were pulled off an airplane and searched, right at the gate in public view. He thinks someone on the plane feared them because of their Arabic names. After that, he started calling himself Sam in public. In the WNYC special Living 9/11, he talks about how that feels. Zeidan was at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan when the Towers came down. He lives in Clifton, N.J.
Deborah Mete was a school safety officer in New York and on September 11, 2001, she was helping to evacuate public schools when the Towers collapsed. She got knocked down and injured, but she and a sanitation officer named Charles Diaz helped save each others' lives. In the WNYC special Living 9/11, she tells how she and Chuck became "9/11 buddies." And how she misses him now. She lives in the Bronx.
After September 11, 2001, Braulio Rosado spent three weeks doing search and rescue at the World Trade Center site with the National Guard – then decided to get out. In the WNYC special Living 9/11, he tells why he chose to stay home and raise a family rather than risk fighting a war few seemed to care about.
Brian Gestring is a forensic scientist working with the NYPD's crime lab. He was with the Medical Examiner's office on 9/11 and, when he went down to the World Trade Center, he was hit in the back of the head by falling debris. He doesn't have any memory of how he got from where he was knocked out to the New Jersey State Police boat that took him across the Hudson River. In the WNYC special Living 9/11, he talks about his memories and lack of memories and the roles each play in his life now. He lives in New Jersey.
John Ellis composed the music for WNYC's special Living 9/11 and recorded it along with musicians Chris Hoffman, Mike Moreno, Mike Rodriguez, Dan Peck, Daniel Freedman and Avishai Cohen.