9/11 survivor reflects on tragedy, 12 years later

Posted at: 09/11/2013 10:21 PM
Updated at: 09/11/2013 11:08 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Photographer Eric O’Connell moved from New Mexico to New York nine days before September 11.

He was blocks away when the first plane hit, so he grabbed his cameras and ran toward the Twin Towers. Photos in an exhibition at the Don Luis Plaza Albuquerque Photographers’ gallery show what he saw – and how he saw it.

They show what fell around him.

“The debris littered everything for blocks and blocks and blocks -- yes, human body parts, but also just stuff,” O’Connell said.

They show the church he ran into that saved his life.

“Me and a few people dove into a doorway and we're alive and the rest of the people literally out there, aren't,” O’Connell said.

They show moments that symbolize what, for many, that day now represents.

“It's not the flags and the eagles and the bumper stickers and stuff, it’s the people,” O’Connell said.

O’Connell has moved back to Albuquerque. Twelve years later, he’s still recovering from the tragedy he witnessed.

“You look at that destruction and then you see what New York has rebuilt, what America has rebuilt, what people have rebuilt,” O’Connell said.

But now, he can share the photos and let some of that pain go.