9-11 From The Inside Out with North Tower Security Specialist Erik Ronningen

Weather conditions on September 11, 2001

  • Bright and sunny skies in New York City
  • Pleasant temperature of 65 degrees in the morning
  • Clear skies were rare for New York City
  • Crystal clear skies were noted on September 11, 2001
  • Azure blue sky was magnificent on that day

Eric Ronningen's experience in the World Trade Center

  • Eric's office had windows overlooking New York Harbor
  • He enjoyed watching tugboats, watercraft, and tourist boats going to Ellis Island
  • Impact from Flight 11 on the 71st floor shook him
  • Tower twisted, turned, and bent before settling
  • Eric's descent through the stairs was exhausting

Encounter with First Responders

  • Eric didn't encounter First Responders until the upper teen floors
  • Firemen in bunker gear and oxygen tanks were perspiring
  • Employees supported and encouraged the First Responders
  • Debris of paper, cardboard, and furniture was floating down the stairs
  • Eric couldn't reach the basement but helped injured people on the pavement

Divine intervention and harrowing escape

  • A little voice told Eric to walk east, leading to his escape
  • Divine intervention and Army training helped him survive
  • Eric realized the full extent of the catastrophe when watching television
  • The scope of the events became clear on TV
  • Eric experienced PTSD symptoms like soldiers on the battlefield

Impact and aftermath of September 11, 2001

  • Eric was determined not to let the circumstances control him
  • It took him years to recover from the trauma
  • Thousands of heroes were born on 9/11
  • The tragedy brought the country together like never before
  • America's darkest hour also produced its finest moments