Finding Hope - 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Uploaded by MormonMessages on 02.09.2009

(Victor Guzman) My name is Victor Guzman, and I'm a 9/11 survivor.
I was on the 85th floor when the first plane
hit the north tower.
Since 9/11, my life has never been the same.
It's actually better.
This is my story.
I remember the sky was perfectly blue.
It was a beautiful September morning.
(Ken Eye) I know he had a long commute,
an hour and a half to two hours.
One time we were sitting and talking and determined
that he was commuting about 20 hours a week.
And we said, "Well, that's a part-time job."
(Victor) I get into my office and start typing my billing,
as attorneys do.
I remember pressing "print."
As I'm getting up, I hear this great explosion,
and the building rocks forward
to the point where I have to brace myself against the wall
of my desk, and then it snapped back.
There was nothing but smoke and smell.
We saw that the elevators weren't working,
that some of them were actually blown out.
We found the staircase.
We slowly descend down.
I do remember at the explosion saying a quick prayer.
I still say that it was that prayer that kept me calm.
All of a sudden, family became important.
Before then, it was getting the material things for the family.
That was one of the reasons why I went to the work
at the Trade Center-- I was going to make
much more money.
(Ken) You know, he had started this job
probably about three months before 9/11.
He was gung ho about his job.
(Wife of Victor) I just remember sitting in front of the TV,
grabbing a pillow, and just rocking back and forth.
And as I was doing that, I remember distinctly thinking
to myself that he had kissed me good-bye that morning,
and that was really odd for him to wake me up
to just kiss me good-bye.
I was so thrilled that we said good-bye in good terms.
I mean, at that point, I wasn't sure what was going to happen.
(Victor) We finally get out, and I started running.
I hear a loud crunching of glass and metal,
and when I turn around, I see the tower that I was just
a few minutes before running out of starts coming down.
The faster I ran, the closer that plume of smoke was coming.
All of a sudden that plume of smoke just overcomes us.
I was just at Pace University, I remember.
I'm still shaking and I go in.
At that point, I hear the north tower come down.
I remember just-- my knees buckling
and I just fell into the chair.
I put my hands in my face, and I'm like,
the first question was, "Why me?
Why did I survive?"
And then the next thought was,
"I was in that building that just collapsed."
And as the years went on, that guilt became an issue.
First year, I suppressed it.
The first year, it was more about the notoriety that
"Oh, wow, you were a survivor of 9/11."
And that took me through the first year.
I remember around the second anniversary,
I emotionally fell apart.
I dreaded going to sleep, so I would stay up late.
And then, when I got to sleep, I didn't want to get up.
I just didn't want to deal with it.
It was hard again, I guess the ego
that I should be able to deal with this.
I shouldn't be an emotional mess.
I shouldn't be teary-eyed or I shouldn't be jumping
at every noise that I hear.
The realization came that I couldn't do it
by myself anymore.
It was humbling to realize that I needed help.
(Wife) The bishop, he would always talk to Victor
and give him a hug and ask him, "Victor, are you OK?"
(Victor) He became another father figure.
I remember him always putting his arm around me
and how I needed that, how I needed someone else
to realize that I was in pain.
The hard part about changing is that, you know,
I was enjoying the money I was making in the city,
and I realized that I had to have faith that,
one, we were going to continue to pay our bills
and, two, that we were going to have to do without.
I wanted a job that I was allowed to come home early.
I took a job in Newburg, which is about 30 minutes
from where we live, and the difference it made
that I was able to go to a baseball game,
that I was able--my daughter was on a soccer team,
and just those little things that weren't important before
became the focus.
One thing we were lacking because I wasn't around
was sitting together as a family
and reading the scriptures.
I found a new life in the scriptures,
and I would bury myself in the scriptures,
actually looking for solace.
As I continued to do that, I wanted to share that
with the kids.
I wanted them to have a love of the scriptures.
What I saw through Christ's life was that He was the Healer.
He was going to make me whole
for the sacrifices that He went through.
It wasn't the pursuit of money.
He didn't talk about commuting four hours a day;
He talked about loving the little children
and how He blessed them throughout His life.
That opened my eyes.
(Ken) Well, he was always a great man,
but he became greater, I think, because of his experience.
He's more family-focused;
he's more focused on his community
and focused on serving others in addition to his job.
He's still working hard in his employment,
but he's paying attention to the real basics in life,
the things that really matter.
He's focused right in there.
(Victor) Even until today, he has called me on 9/11
since the first time, just to say hello,
that he was thinking about me.
That made all the difference in the world.
After 9/11, some have said, "There is no God."
For me, He's never been more real.