Everyone has their own story to tell about what happened 20 years ago today. One of the most amazing stories, however, can be told with a pair of boots. A scuffed pair of boots serve as a reminder of the struggle to save a survivor under rubble on 9/11.
Port Authority Police Sgt. John McLoughlin was one of only 18 people to emerge alive from the wreckage of the World Trade Center after it collapsed on 9/11. His son, J.J. McLoughlin tells The New York Post it was a miracle. “It took a heroic effort from hundreds of people to get my dad out. There was a lot of bad stuff that day, but this is one piece you can look at and actually think, ‘Hey, there’s something positive.'”
McLoughlin was on duty in Midtown when the first plane hit. Having years of experience at the World Trade Center, he rushed there to organize evacuation efforts with four other junior officers. While leading them through the underground plaza between the two towers, the South Tower came down and buried them in 30 feet of rubble. McLoughlin and rookie officer Will Jimeno were the only survivors from that area, with rescue efforts taking 22 hours.
Extraordinarily, Mcloughlin’s boots seemed to save his feet. “Where he got crushed, his dress shoes wouldn’t have offered any protection,” J.J. said. A stroke of luck had McLoughlin wearing his Rocky public-service boots that day, as opposed to his ordinary shoes. Though McLoughlin said to throw them out, J.J. knew they had important history and donated them to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.
McLoughlin’s amazing story was made into the 2006 movie, World Trade Center, directed by Oliver Stone. Nicholas Cage starred as McLoughlin.
9/11 Pentagon Attack Survivor and Veteran to Marry on 20th Anniversary in ‘Day of Love’
Though 9/11’s anniversary every year is typically a somber one, some people try to turn it into a day of empowerment. One such person is a veteran and Pentagon attack survivor. He intends to marry today to make it a “day of love.”
U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Chris Akers was in the Pentagon office when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Always dreading the day’s anniversary, he and his fiancée decided to put a positive spin on it and get married on its 20th anniversary. Not wanting to take away from what the day means, they will acknowledge it in several ways. Besides beginning the ceremony with a moment of silence, they will also host an “in memoriam” table for those who died.
“We do intend to acknowledge [the day] for what it is, but also to make sure we are making our day the central focus and that it is a celebration of our love,” the couple said. “We’re intentionally attaching something to this day. We’re going to make this moment something else that’s worthy of celebration.”