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9/11 survivor: ‘I may not be here if I waited another 5 minutes’

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – On Sept. 11, 2001, Patrick Anderson was on the fifth floor of the Marriott Hotel, inside of World Trade Center 3, when he felt the first plane strike. 

He shared his story of survival with 8 On Your Side. 

“On that day there was a lot of confusion in the towers and World Trade Center 3, where I was. There were announcements to stay in your room. There were a lot of people who did not escape,” said Anderson.

Anderson looked outside of his room window where he saw debris starting to fall.

“At some point, it wasn’t clear whether I should get up and go. At some point, I decided I would go and there is no rational reason,” Anderson said.

Anderson believes he heard an angel’s voice urging him to run. He left his room with just one shoe on and his wallet. 

“Lots of people have stories about 9/11 where there was some kind of angel that tapped them on the shoulder and helped them out and got them to safety and that is certainly that is part of my story too. I may not be here if I would have waited another five minutes. I would not be here today,” Anderson said.

Anderson told 8 On Your Side he was eventually ushered to safety by New York City firefighters and he will forever be grateful for their bravery. 

Since that tragic day in American history, Anderson has founded the Michigan Remembers 9/11 Fund, a non-profit that commemorates the lives lost during the terrorist attacks. 

The 9/11 survivor, who is a native of Michigan, shared his story Wednesday morning at a special memorial service held at Curlew Hills 9/11 Memorial Garden in Palm Harbor.

The memorial garden is anchored by a rusted steel beam that was once a part of the World Trade Center Towers. You’ll also find an eternal flame at its base and marble slabs, each engraved with the names of the lives lost on 9/11.

For more information on Curlew Hills Memory Gardens and their 9/11 memorial event, you can reach them at 727-789-2000 or visit their website at CurlewHills.com.

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