Rescuers Ran Toward the Falling Towers: Heroism Amid the 9/11 Tragedy

Jeffrey Smith was a sales director working just over a block from the Twin Towers when terrorists attacked 20 years ago. He laments the lesser-known death toll that has followed 9/11, such as those caused by the toxicity of the air: “I got a four-element mask, you know, optimized to the dangers … I ended up on 14 medications anyway … The fumes in our office destroyed both the oils and acrylic paint. So what is that doing to people?”

Nejan Paniagua came from Cyprus as a young woman to study in New York. Twenty years later, visiting Ground Zero, her mind is still inscribed with the same scene of devastation she saw back then: “It was like a war zone. Everything was collapsing. People were running. [There was] dust everywhere. It did smell like burning flesh and wires. It was thick smoke. A lot of big stones. It did not look like New York.”

Amid the stories of lingering heartache and trauma are testimonies to the courage and sacrifice of those like first-responders and everyday citizens who ran toward the collapsing structures to save lives. In such examples, there is hope for a revitalized humanity and unity for Americans.

Hosted by NTD journalist Brendon Fallon, Wide Angle is following the latest political developments in the United States and abroad, and finding the connection between these and the larger global trends of our times.

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