9/11 survivor remembers what happened on the day of the attacks

A 9/11 survivor shares what he remembers from that day.

Twenty-one years ago, David Paventi worked for what was then a large bank based in North Carolina. He was sitting in a meeting on the 81st floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center when he felt the room tremble.

Paventi tells Fox News Digital that he assumed it was an earthquake “because the building moved one way and then the other and then started to shake.”

“I started going under the table because I didn’t want the light to hit me, but everyone quickly started leaving the room,” he said.

Paventi said he remembered hearing someone yell, “A plane has hit the building!” as people headed for the stairs.


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“Not many people came down the stairwell. Tell you what was going on a few floors up,’ he said.

Paventi said when he got to the 70th floor, the narrow stairwell was congested and he recalls how “eerily quiet” the atmosphere was as not many people were talking.

Then Paventi received a message on his two-way pager that a plane had hit the tower, and shortly thereafter was also told that a second plane had hit the South Tower in what appeared to be a terrorist attack.

“A couple of times we sat and looked at each other and thought if we should try a different stairwell,” Paventi said of devising a plan to escape the building with his colleague.

Paventi explained that they decided to stay in the stairwell when they saw it moving.

“There was a point that everyone passed by for the firefighters to run up. We were all trying to get out of here and all these guys came in full gear and with hoses. I couldn’t imagine running to that fire, running upstairs and knowing you have 40-50 flights left,” he said.

Paventi said by the time he was finally able to reach the lobby, all the lights were off, causing the emergency lights to come on, and there was also water on the floor.

“From the outside it looked like a scene from Die Hard. Windows were blown out, there was glass everywhere,” he explained.

As he walked into the yard, he heard people calling out to him, “Don’t look, just run.”


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“We started running into town and I remember looking up and watching the first tower just fall in on itself. My colleague had just reached his wife and the last thing she heard from him was a ‘Holy s–t’ before the phone rang,” he said.

Paventi and his collaborator were able to spot it for sure. He then decided to hitchhike to his colleague’s brother’s house on Long Island. Paventi was also able to get a rental car to return to North Carolina the next day.

Twenty-one years later, efforts have been made to ensure that future generations will not forget this historic day.

Frank Siller lost his brother Steven, a New York City firefighter, in the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers and is now the CEO of Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Siller said: “fox & friends” that the first mission of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and why they started is to make sure we never forget what happened that day and to honor the heroes.

He announced that the Foundation now has a “9/11 Institute” where they have created a curriculum that will be available in all 50 states to ensure our next generation is taught what happened that day.

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Mike Fahey

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