Via David A. (Batman) Batan USMC and Occupy Marine – Present Sunday #S17 for the OWS 1 year anniversary
Eleven years ago, this past September 11th, I was on the 42nd floor of Tower 2. I did tempt work as an “office bitch” for some insurance company, I only started a few months earlier.
I was there early that fateful morning when the first plane crashed on Tower 1. Not knowing what really had happened at that time to the opposite building, my co-workers and I felt its impact Tower 2. No official evacuation warning was announced, but I stood up, gathered my belongings and headed for the staircase.
I started walking down FORTY-TWO flights of steps. By the time I was in the mid-30s, the second plane crashed into my building; everyone panicked. I started running downstairs. It seemed like forever but I finally I reached the ground floor. I was shocked to see the outside covered with rubble, debris, and ash. Not a lot of folks wanted to go outside that â€œwar zone.â€ I took my chances of dashing out into that dangerous area to the safety of the next block or so.
I had a split second to decide: Stay and wait for rescue inside the ground floor just like everyone else, or make a run for it. Remembering my combat training from the Marines, I maneuvered myself into the falling rubble, it was a risky maze of just one block. I was one of the few who took that chance of escaping from the rubble. I made it out to safety, about half-hour before the Tower 2 collapsed.
It is a reflective day for me and for everyone who survived; not one moment goes by without thinking of my escape. Survivor’s guilt: it can make you or it can destroy you. I chose the former; I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had let my guilt destroy me. I count my blessings.
I also have the utmost respect for the Marine Corps, especially the stress of boot camp nineteen years ago, that prepared me for something like this. If it weren’t for the Corps’ instilled discipline, this Marine would not be alive to day to share his story. I adapted, improvised, and I overcame.
This is in honor for those who lost their lives.This is the first time ever that I’m coming out about my ordeal and guilt with my brothers/sisters-in-arms, and I feel so much better now after bottling it inside me for so long. What a better time to let it all out now than today.
It was not an easy eleven-year “reclusion” for me, but time heals things.
I still suffer from flashbacks from the ordeal combat-related PTSD at worst.
I have come to realize that the best way to honor the loss is for the survivors to remember them not wallow in guilt.
In a private conversation David goes on to tell me how a dozen or so people followed him out the front that day, taking courage in his lead, they followed him toward the first block before splitting up in different directions. David never saw them again. A reunion would be fitting for those who remember Davids face, and followed him to safety that morning.