National Geographic : 2011 Sep
PHOTOS: IRA BLOCK • New York firefighter Matt Komorowski survived the north tower's collapse with 15 others due to a staircase that withstood the fall. He keeps his helmet from that day, still covered with shattered concrete and drywall, in a glass case in his living room. "It's difficult for me to constantly lookatitandnotgointoa downward spiral. But I feel it's important for my own therapy to leave it there, to work through it, and to deal with that day without falling into those depths. I've learned to get out of them, so things are a lot better. "I had thoughts of leaving my profession, but being a firefighter is really a part of you. I wanted to give the decision time, and after I felt mentally OK, I realized this is what I was meant to do. So yes, I had thoughts of leaving, but I'm so happy I got back on the horse." NGM.COM EXCLUSIVE Voices of / A SURVIVOR'S TALE Starting From Ground Zero In the decade since September 11, 2001, thousands of survivors have walked the difficult path of recovery. At New York City's World Trade Center alone, epicenter of the terrorist attacks, an estimated 12,000 people emerged from the twin towers alive. A sampling of their stories tells of courage, healing, and fateful timing, from a duffel bag that saved one man's life to the enduring faith of the last survivor pulled from the rubble. For their reflections on that day and the ten years since, go to ngm.com/911.