Smoke billows from the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center before they collapsed on September 11, 2001 in New York, NY - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.09.2021
9/11: 20 Years Later
On 11 September 2001, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked and crashed four passenger jets, destroying the World Trade Centre towers in New York and damaging the Pentagon. The attack killed almost 3,000 people and injured 25,000, prompting the launch of US-led military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

'It Was Total Mayhem': Citizen Recalls Devastation Left After 9/11 Attack

© AP Photo / Boudicon OneОбломки зданий и пепел на улице после теракта в Нью-Йорке
Обломки зданий и пепел на улице после теракта в Нью-Йорке  - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.09.2021
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Long-term effects of the 9/11 tragedy are still felt by the survivors, even among those who were living in New York but were not directly present at the site of the attacks. About 400,000 people were exposed to toxic dust.
John Mormando, who worked as a trader at the New York Mercantile Exchange, which was located only a few blocks from the World Trade Center, was one of them.
When the towers came down, he was at home. However, he was sent back to work five or six days later.

"We went back to work in the middle of a war zone with buildings on fire and still and smoke everywhere. And you know, it was total mayhem down there, but we had open up because we were commodities and they needed to open it up. So we went back to work. And the EPA [the Environmental Protection Agency], you know, said that all the tests were done and the air quality was good, but unfortunately they were wrong or something happened because a lot of people got sick from being down there, including myself," he told Sputnik.

Seventeen years later, Mormando was diagnosed with male breast cancer. He went into remission in 2019, and in 2020 he battled COVID-19.
"Unfortunately, I had to go to the hospital and I was in pretty bad shape for about a couple of weeks and then I got over that. And then this year, I was able to continue my journey to do an Ironman and I just completed it in Lake Placid, New York. I completed an Ironman triathlon," he said.
For the wife of Earl Rasmussen, Eurasia Center Vice President, September might have been fatal, as she was usually working in Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia, about two miles from the Pentagon. However, the meeting on Tuesday was rescheduled.
"As I recall, she was supposed to have a meeting that morning in the Pentagon with the Army budget office. Due to scheduling conflicts, the meeting with the director of the budget office was rescheduled at the last minute from the Pentagon to her office in Arlington," he told Sputnik.
She didn't go, and as it turned out, this rescheduled meeting saved her live.
"Almost the entire Army Budget Office staff would have been killed that day as the aircraft crashed directly into the side of the Pentagon where they were located," he said.
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