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He Was There: Tyrone Students Hear an Eyewitness Account of 9/11 Attack and 1993 WTC Bombing

Photo courtesy of Andy Perry
Mr. Andy Perry

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A group of Tyrone Area High School students heard a eyewitness account of two of the most significant terrorist attacks in US history. Former Wall Street trader Andy Perry, who was present in the World Trade Center in New York City for both the 9/11/01 attack and the lesser known 1993 World Trade Center bombing, spoke to students in Tyrone High School’s library on Friday, March 31.

“Talking about 9/11 is a double edged sword. One one hand it helps to talk about it, but on the other hand it brings back the memories very vividly of what happened. It is difficult but I think important to do”

— Andy Perry

Perry is a friend of Tyrone High School sophomore Anna Beck and her father, Jamie Beck. They met at a dog training club that helps veterans with PTSD. The presentation was arraigned by US civics teacher Todd Cammarata, who teaches a unit on 9/11 in his class.

This was the first time that Perry had ever addressed a large group of people about his experiences on 9/11 or the 1993 bombing.

“I was unsure [about doing this] at first, but I felt it was important to keep alive the memory of what happened for those too young to remember,” said Perry when asked about coming in speaking to the students.

“Talking about 9/11 is a double edged sword. One one hand it helps to talk about it, but on the other hand it brings back the memories very vividly of what happened. It is difficult but I think important to do,” said Perry.

In the 1993 attack, Perry and many of his coworkers were trapped in the building for about three hours. According to Perry, conditions inside the building were much worse for him in 1993 than in 2001 because the bombing occurred in the basement parking garage.  As a result, the stairwells were filled with smoke and the power went out during their decent.  Once he was out of the tower, he ran to is apartment in Manhattan.

In 1993, the reactions of his coworkers was a lot more panicked than in 2001. “There was a lot screaming, crying, and overall a lot of nervous energy. A lot of people were doing what they felt was necessary at the time,” said Perry.

“People only think of what they have to do to survive,” said Perry.

In 2001 attack, he felt the building shake and knew right away that something bad had happened.  “I knew from my experience in 1993 that I needed to get out right away,” said Perry. He got out of the building in less than 15 minutes. After that attack, he ran to a co-workers apartment in Manhattan. All the subways, buses and other transportation out of the city was temporarily shut down, so he could not leave the city until later that night.

His initial thoughts were those of sadness for the injured and the victims of the attack. He knew his life would never be the same after that.

“I think I was in shock as a result of what had happened.  It was a strange sense of disbelief and sorrow of the lost lives and lost innocence,” said Perry, “knowing that so many people died in front of me and that my life would never really be the same after that. I was thinking a great deal about my wife and children.”

In the beginning, it was a little difficult for him to speak in front of the students because they were strangers to him. But once he started it got easier.

“It was really interesting to hear the story from the perspective of someone who was there. It was also extremely emotional and touching to hear how many ways it has affected his life,” said sophomore Maqqel Kosoglow.

“We were very fortunate to have Mr. Perry here to share his story. Many thanks to Mr. Perry and to Anna Beck and her family for helping to make this happen,” said Cammarata.

Surviving something like that is a miracle, and it was an honor for the students of Tyrone got to hear about it.

 

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One Response to “He Was There: Tyrone Students Hear an Eyewitness Account of 9/11 Attack and 1993 WTC Bombing”

  1. Arianna on May 28th, 2017 7:36 pm

    Have a great summer everyone

    [Reply]

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He Was There: Tyrone Students Hear an Eyewitness Account of 9/11 Attack and 1993 WTC Bombing