9/11 survivor fights for families affected by terrorist attacks, advocates for social justice

Remembering 9/11

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — There are still many people who deal with negative effects from 9/11. Emanuel Lipscomb is one of those people. Lipscomb has worked on Capitol Hill to help 9/11 families alongside Senators and members of Congress.

This long, hard road that led to this moment started 20 years ago on a business trip to New York.

“We heard something that went whoosh and when we looked up and we saw the top of the first tower, the North tower, smoking and we were wondering what in the world had happened,” Lipscomb said.

He continued: “And I saw the other plane come smashing through the building and we knew we were being attacked. We see a mushroom cloud at the top of the World Trade [Center] and now this whole tower is coming down on top of our heads. We saw people all over everywhere panicking,” he said.

But Lipscomb says he and some others around him realized there was work to do.

“And we all just joined together and just started moving people, everywhere we could, just to get everybody out safely. So by the time the firemen and the policemen and the rescue workers got there, the streets were clear and the bulk of the people had already been evacuated,” Lipscomb said.

As fire and debris rained down on the streets of lower Manhattan, Lipscomb ran into a nearby building for cover.

“And I realized that there was no air. That was the biggest issue because you couldn’t breathe the stuff that was out there right then. And that’s when I guess I looked, I just turned it over and said ‘Lord is this how it’s gonna end’ and I just heard this voice inside of me saying ‘Go to the river,'” Lipscomb said.

Lipscomb trusted the voice, and started moving in that direction.

“And that’s where we found air, in that building. next to that river,” Lipscomb said.

He and more than 100 others waited and were eventually rescued. But like the thousands of other survivors, first responders and family members of the victims of the attacks, Lipscomb lives with the physical and mental trauma of that day.

“Post traumatic stress on steroids, fueled by adrenaline and then that led to me having diabetes. I had a stroke that day, I had a stroke years later, had two heart attacks, even now my legs are bandaged up from the bottom up,” Lipscomb said.

When asked if he could go back and talk to himself after what happened, he said, “everything that happened, happened for a purpose.”

Now, he advocates for 9/11 families, fights against gun violence, and operates a workforce development program.

“You just gotta get up here and do what you can to just make this world a better place,” Lipscomb said.

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