Nearly 2 decades after 9/11, a former firefighter sees the NYC memorial for the first time

  • Source: Erie Times-News - Metered Site
  • Published: 09/08/2021 12:00 AM

VIDEO: Michael Silvestri dipped his fingers into the flowing water and made the sign of the cross, from his forehead to his broken heart. The waters here, in the South Pool of New York City's 9/11 Memorial, are like holy water, he said. "It's sacred. It's their graves," Silvestri said. His cross was also a silent prayer for the strength he needed to stand at this memorial for the first time. Faith had helped Silvestri, now 59, get this far. The former firefighter survived 9/11 two decades ago, but he's been fighting for his life ever since. Silvestri moved to Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, more than a decade ago to get away from all the reminders on Staten Island. He was haunted by painful memories, undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder and the survivor's guilt that devoured him alive. It culminated in 10 seconds of rage 16 months after 9/11 that nearly cost him everything, followed by years of the slow path toward healing, the hard work of turning survival to rebirth.


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