Looking back at the days and nights I spent in the Deutsche Bank building, it all seems surreal. I see the images in my memory and know that I was there, but it seems as though I am watching a movie, like I could not have witnessed this tragedy myself. I couldn’t have been one of the people walking the desolate stairwells, seeing the abandoned desks that could have been left moments ago except for the inch of dust that had settled over every surface. This was the stuff you see in movies, not real life. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

I didn’t really think about my months at Ground Zero until I ran into Rich Lee a couple of weeks ago and he told me about this project. I realized how traumatic the experience truly was and how much I had blocked those feelings out. I don’t share much about my experiences at Ground Zero, but I will share my strongest memory.

I will never forget going to work on the second anniversary of 9/11. Seeing everyone in tears. Hearing the names of those that passed echoing between buildings. We could hear them in Shantytown, all day long. It was strange, sitting in a damaged building, listening to the names of the perished, collecting the dust. I had tears in my eyes all day, broke down crying more times that I can count. I have never been enveloped by so much sorrow in my life, and I hope to never experience it again.

Out of my experiences at Ground Zero I gained wonderful friends and a bond that will forever bind us. I gained a new appreciation for life, as well as a new sense of purpose. I cherish the memories; the sorrow in the tragedy, the happiness in helping others.

Kelly Carter Uzzo

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