Community reflects on terror attacks 15 years later

New York native Marianela Melendez, who worked in the World Trade Center during the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, reflects on that unforgettable day and what life has been like for her sonce.

Community reflects on terror attacks 15 years later
September 15
07:30 2016

Photo by Tevin Stinson



In remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001, last week the Love Community Development Corporation (LCDC), which has a mission to enrich lives through educational programs and resources, partnered with AmeriCorps to host a special event to remember those who lost their lives, and others whose unselfish generosity to help save lives during one of the greatest tragedies in American history.

During the event held on Friday, Sept. 9, just two days before the 15th anniversary of the terror attacks that shook the country to the core, Mayor Allen Joines said most people will never forget what they were doing when planes flew into the World Trade Center and The Pentagon.

He said he will also never forget the image of first responders running toward the fire.

“We saw thousands of people running away from the World Trade Center, but we saw the first responders running toward the fire to try to save lives.” said Joines. “Every day we thank God for our first responders because we know what they mean to our city and our community.”

After thanking first responders and veterans in attendance for their service, Joines noted, “Following the attacks, there was a huge wave of patriotism, but it seems like over the years that support has not been as strong. But, it’s events like this that will help remind us that our first responders are the ones who keep us safe.

“I’m glad to see our churches and our community organizations putting this before us and not let-ting us forget. We have to remember and thank our first responders every day.”

While the terror attacks touched people in every corner of the country, not many are haunted by the events on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, as Marianela Melendez, a New York native who worked inside the World Trade Center on that unforgettable day. Melendez mentioned while standing outside the building smoking a cigarette she and other co-workers noticed a plane fly-ing extremely low.

“When we looked up a second time, the plane had run into the building,” she continued. “I was distraught and scared. If it wasn’t for the first responders, I don’t know what I would have done that day.”

As tears began to flow down her face, Melendez said the attacks scared her so much that she decided to move to North Carolina, where she has been since 2005. She said, to this day she still has a fear of being around tall buildings.

“I haven’t been back to New York City since I left. I even missed my mother’s funeral because I was scared to go back there,” said Melendez. “I would love to go back but I just can’t do it. It has been really hard.”

Melendez said although she still has some fear, the birth of her twin daughters and help from AmeriCorps, a civil society program sponsored by the government, is where she found the strength to go on.

“AmeriCorps helped me a lot. They taught me that I can become somebody that is strong again,” she continued. “The terrorist tried to scare us that day but now I know it’s important that we stand up and show them what we are all about as Americans.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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