‘The Tunnel Of Lasts’: 20 Years After Losing Husband, Deborah Garcia Says Sept. 11 Remains A Current Event

Deborah Garcia lost her husband in the Sept. 11 attacks. (Courtesy Garcia Family)

I’m Deborah Garcia, and I lost my husband, David Garcia, at One World Trade Center on the 97th floor, on Sept. 11 in 2001.

David was likely on his way to his desk at that time. I have visions that he was just stepping off the elevator. When the plane came through, he was on an impact floor, in Tower 1. So that was the first tower that was hit.

That morning, the alarm didn’t go off. And we just woke up with the sun blazing in our faces, and in a hurry. He’s like, “Pack my lunch! Put my clothes out,” which — I often put his clothes out, because he was legally blind, and couldn’t really see color very well.

So he rushed out the door with my 8-year-old, whose bus came at the same time. And his back was the last thing I saw as he ran up the street to catch the bus to the train station.

I put my son on the bus — my little one — about 8:40, or something like that. I came into the house, and Sesame Street was on. I poured myself a cup of coffee. And then I realized that I’m not hearing Big Bird’s singing, “Good Morning, Mr. Sun,” anymore. And I look up. And I see this image of the towers, with, like, smoke coming out of the top of one of the towers. And I’m not thinking a big deal — OK, some little fire or … You know, I live in New York City, things happen all the time. I don’t get too upset about it.

And then I’m looking, and I saw, live, the second plane, come across the screen and hit — it literally sliced through the other tower. Yeah, so that’s … that’s, I mean, how I found out. I mean, honestly, I kept a vigil for over two weeks. I slept with the phone in my hand, and I slept clutching his photo, and it was a couple of weeks, and I hadn’t heard anything, and just … had to come to the conclusion that he’s not coming home.

For the full story, continue reading on VPR.org. This story is part of a 9/11 remembrance project, featuring the voices of Vermonters reflecting on how their lives were changed by 9/11. To find the project, go to www.vpr.org/911.