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At Las Cruces Fire Station No. 1 Downtown, a member of the Las Cruces Fire Department rang a bell at 8:46 a.m. MDT Sunday, Sept. 11.
It marked 21 years to the day and minute after American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into floors 93-99 of 1 Word Trade Center (North Tower).
LCFD personnel also rang the bell at 9:03 a.m., to commemorate the crash of United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower; at 9:37 a.m., to commemorate the crash of American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon; at 9:59 a.m., to commemorate the collapse of the South Tower; at 10:03 a.m., to commemorate the crash of United Flight 93 into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania; and at 10:28 a.m., to commemorate the collapse of the North Tower.
Among those on hand at Fire Station No 1. was David Perez, a retired New York City police officer who was 20 minutes away from World Trade Center when the attacks occurred.
Perez, who retired from NYPD Feb. 29, 2020, and moved to Las Cruces with his wife, was home with a broken ankle (a sports injury) at the time of the 911 attacks and was unable to respond.
Perez said he suffers from survivors’ guilt because he couldn’t be at the scene with his fellow officers.
“I really did wish I was there,” said Perez, who is now a security guard at Mesa Middle School in Las Cruces. “If I was able, I would have been there in a heartbeat.”
When he learned of the attacks, Perez said he went to the roof of the building in which he was living in Bensonhurst, a residential neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, where he watched the collapse of the North Tower.
“It was so ominous,” Perez said, “So quiet. Businesses were closed. There was nobody on the street.”