"I wanted to crawl into my fire helmet." Firefighter Mickey Kross describes a fierce wind lifting him up amid the collapse of the North Tower in a podcast from the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation.
Visitors to the Foundation's site can also view photo albums, including one featuring the gear of retired New York City Fire Department Lieutenant Mickey Kross, who was in the North Tower when it collapsed.
Kross' story begins with his first awareness that a plane had struck and his orders to respond with Engine 16. His podcast describes a fierce wind lifting him before he could crouch down at the corner of a staircase, where he tried to make himself small.
"I wanted to crawl into my fire helmet," he explained.
Debris fell around him before darkness and silence descended, leaving him with a sense of "existential isolation." Kross explained his experience until the day's end when he returned to the site.
The audio narrative provides enough detail for listeners to get a clear mental picture of Kross and his surroundings. Kross' written recollection provides even more detail.
Other written personal accounts come from family members of victims, and a man who withheld his last name, saying he fled religious persecution in Egypt decades ago and was devastated to witness the attacks while working nearby.
The site also features an interview with Memorial Museum Director Alice Greenwald, who explains the significance of the memorial through one of the two podcasts released this week.
She described the attacks as a "rupture in history" that created a before and after 9/11 world. Though museums are created for the public, this one also must honor the victims and family members with highly personal ties, while simultaneously providing meaning for millions of people who lived through the attacks nearly five years ago, she said.
"This singular cataclysmic event was experienced by everybody," Greenwald said. "There was no one on the face of the planet who doesn't have a 9/11 story."
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