: Long ago, I recounted the phenomenal story of Pasquale Buzzelli, who survived the collapse of the north tower of the World Trade Center and landed on top of the pile of debris. The story was told in the book by William Langewiesche, who retells it here for tonight’s PBS documentary on the WTC. Go read it and you will witness, if not believe in, miracles.
I met Pasquale and his wonderful wife, Louise, about a year ago when she asked me for advice on trying to get Pasquale’s story published as a book to support the foundation she started to help the mothers who became widows that day. I knew it was a great story, but it was not just some happy-ending-cue-the-music saga. Surviving brought its own difficulties: guilt for living so near death, anger at the people who did this, disorientation in a world utterly changed. I thought that Pasquale’s story was the amplified version of the story of our nation as it has tried to emerge from the debris. But none of the publishing people I knew thought there was a commercial book there; 9.11 was over already. I disagreed, but I don’t own a printing press and so I passed on the advice.
Now New York Magazine tells that story, following up with Pasquale and the 15 other miraculous survivors in Stairwell B of the North Tower. And I am glad to see that Pasquale, Louise, and their beautiful daughter, Hope, born shortly after that day, are doing well. Pasquale is back at work and has found help in therapy to carry some of the unbearable weight he has carried since that day. And Louise has managed to do good with her foundation. It’s still not a cue-the-music happy ending, for this good family should never had to suffer this. But I am glad they are still surviving.