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From the rubble: 9/11 survivor picks up pieces.  Genelle Guzman, The Last Person Rescued on 9/11 experienced a miracle after 27 hours.   

Only one explanation really makes sense. . . If you believe in miracles, McMillan’s survival was just that – a miracle.

Life Is A Gift

     9/11 Survivor


ONLY 13 FLOORS TO GO, and she and her coworkers would be safe.  They had begun their tenuous trek down the concrete stairwell of Tower One at the 64th floor.  They were so near their goal –  That’s when the building began to sway and the entire tower came crashing down on top of Genelle.  In a matter of seconds, she found herself buried alive – entombed in a coffin of concrete and steel.  Finally, after 27 hours and repeated attempts to break out of her tomb, her hand broke through the surface.  Moments later, she felt the warmth of a strong hand latch onto hers.  “I’ve got you Genelle,” the calm voice reassured her.  “My name is Paul, and you’re going to be okay.”  Paul stayed with her until rescue workers arrived.  But 4 hours later, when the rescue team finally pulled her to safety, Paul was gone and not a single person on the scene had seen him or heard of him.  How was that possible?  Why hadn’t Paul interacted with the rescue workers as they drew near? . .   And how had he known her name?  The only answer that made sense to Genelle was that Paul was an angel – sent to rescue her from the rubble and grant her the chance to live the life she had prayed to live while buried alive.


A few years ago she made a trek with some coworkers to the memorial fountain commemorating the victims because she wanted to see her friend Rosa’s name. It’s the closest she’s gone to the site of the attacks since it happened.


Every year as the anniversary of the attacks occurs, she has the same flashbacks, remembering the 14 coworkers and friends she lost that day.  “I see all those moments, the back and forth of should we stay or should we go. I see my friend Rosa’s face and we were talking,” she said.  She is still in disbelief when she sees footage of the attacks, asking herself, “Did I really go through that?”


She’ll find herself looking at news broadcasts with the volume down until they reach the letter G when naming the victims, because at that moment she turns up the volume to hear them call her friend Rosa Gonzalez name and see her face across the screen.

“It’s been 20 years now, but as it gets closer to the date, it seems like it was just yesterday,” she said. “I try and put it out of my mind and behind me and move on.”  She moved on by defying medical science, having two children and by trying to be a positive role model to them.

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