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Surviving 9/11, coming home to Seattle and 'transforming trauma'

Sept. 11 world trade center
Marty Lederhandler
The Associated Press file
The twin towers of the World Trade Center burn behind the Empire State Building in New York, Sept. 11, 2001. In a horrific sequence of destruction, terrorists crashed two planes into the World Trade Center causing the twin 110-story towers to collapse. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)

A West Seattle woman who escaped the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 tells KNKX that this weekend's anniversary is a marker of how far she's come, and how grateful she is to be alive.

For many of us, the attacks 20 years ago this weekend were first experienced through a screen, seen on television as the nation stopped what it was doing and watched in disbelief.

Those who remember that day, do so vividly. And many of those who experienced the attacks firsthand remember the day viscerally.

Seattle resident Annabel Quintero is one of those people.

She was in the north tower of the World Trade Center, working on the 46th floor, when she felt the building shake. She couldn’t see the damage. The day still looked bright and peaceful and calm from her workplace window.

But as she made her way down the stairs, she started running into people doing the same thing. And firefighters coming up the stairs in the opposite direction. And when she stepped outside and turned to look at her office tower -- the first one struck by a passenger jet, and the second to fall, she couldn’t believe she had escaped.

As she relates in her book “Step, Step, Jump,” the trauma of 9/11 ultimately caused her to find healing and growth within herself, which allowed her to weather the pandemic in a different way.

She spoke to KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco. Listen to the story above.