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9/11: The 73 minutes that changed my life

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Author Topic: 9/11: The 73 minutes that changed my life  (Read 1740 times)
Crystal Thielkien
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« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2011, 08:04:58 pm »

It's a thorn in his side, he says. "I have debts and try to pay them off when I can and meet my basic expenses. So far, I've been lucky to just get by."

If he had been told in 2001 that in 10 years he would be living in Pennsylvania and working in a theatre and a supermarket, he would have been shocked.

"I liked my job. I liked working down there. And, yes, I was making a good salary. I would like to think I might have developed a relationship with someone.

"At the time of 9/11, I was in the best place I had been for a long time - sober and happy. Perhaps I would have been able to take vacations and travel, things I'm unable to do now."

And the images are still there every day, sometimes popping into his head without warning, with such force that he zones out while his mind revisits the carnage.

"They are like snippets of a movie. I will replay watching this one man who I saw falling, watching him. I will flash to the injured man I saw laying in the streets. It's a series of vignettes that my mind just goes back to."

A siren is enough to take him back there and it's a sound that makes his body tighten. He still has not boarded a plane, although tall buildings don't instil in him the same fear they once did.

A study by Cornell University suggests that the trauma suffered by witnesses like Van Why may have physically altered their brains, damaging their ability to process emotions.

He says 9/11 survivors and witnesses like himself are the "forgotten majority", never considered among the victims.
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