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Former Police Officer’s Account of 9/11: ‘I Had Three Broken Vertebrae, But I Kept Helping People’

Marcelo Pevida Gonzalez, a former NYPD officer, painfully recalls the terrorist attack

[Leer en español]

September 11, 2001 changed the history of the world, but it also marked the lives of many people who were there at the time of the terrorist attack. On the morning of 9/11, a day that seemed normal, thousands of people died when hijackers from Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terrorist network crashed four commercial airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

Those days also saw the stories of many people who gave their all to save and help other citizens. This is the case of Marcelo Pevida Gonzalez, a former New York Police Department officer. This 51-year-old man was one of the officers who that day prioritized the lives of others before his own.

His testimony was collected in a special report by France 24, where he tells of his hours of desperation in trying to help all the victims, despite the fact that he had also suffered blows that had left him with three broken vertebrae.

While he was trying to find an ambulance to help the injured, he felt an impact and an airplane tire fell right next to his car. “It was pretty much crushed,” he says.

But for the first few minutes he felt no pain; it was only later that he realized he had three shattered vertebrae. But that didn’t stop him from continuing to help. “I went out the window and continued helping people. The situation was terrifying, everything was falling from the sky, there were even people throwing themselves out,” he said.

Thousands of citizens died in the 9/11 attack (Image: EFE)

The pain of remembering 9/11

Although many years have passed since the events, Marcelo still finds it painful to remember what he lived through. The media details that when he talks about what happened, his voice changes. “None of us who were there like to remember it,” he said.

Marcelo retired at the age of 31 because of the injuries he suffered that day. France 24 details that he became the co-owner of one of the most recognized pizzerias in the Big Apple, Grimaldi’s.

Marcelo’s story is just one example of so many others of people who gave their all for their fellow countrymen. It was a dark day in world history, but the unity of the citizens prevailed.

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