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Man quit his job after surviving 9/11 to pursue what he loves and spend more time with family

A bond trader who was working in the World Trade Center when it collapsed recalls the horrors of that event and the lessons he learned.

Man quit his job after surviving 9/11 to pursue what he loves and spend more time with family
Cover Image Source: (L) Instagram | @dcaiazzo; (R) Getty Images | Thomas Nilsson

22 years ago the events of 9/11 in the U.S. changed the life of countless people. When the World Trade Center was attacked by planes hijacked by terrorists, a man named Danny Caiazzo was working as a bond trader on the 55th floor of the World Trade Center's South Tower. A then 23-year-old Caiazzo had fortunately gone out of the building when it collapsed but the survivor's guilt has haunted him for years.

Image Source: Smoke pours from the World Trade Center after being hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Carolyn Schaefer/Getty Images)
Image Source: Smoke pours from the World Trade Center after being hit by two planes on September 11, 2001, in New York City—Getty Images | Carolyn Schaefer

"I wished that I would've been able to save more people that day," Caiazzo, now 45, told PEOPLE on the 22-year anniversary of the dreadful event. Soon after he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and since then he has opted for spending more time with important people in his life and doing what he loves to do. Caiazzo also urges others to do the same and openly express their feelings to others.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Danny Caiazzo (@dcaiazzo)


 

"You have to make the most of the time that you have with the people that you care about because you never know how quickly things can change. Things changed so quickly for so many people that day. I really did see the terribleness, but also the best part of humanity that day," he continued. Caiazzo still remembers the day his life changed forever in 2001. The morning of the attack, Caiazzo had asked one of his co-workers to grab breakfast from downstairs.

Image Source: The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Thomas Nilsson/ Getty Images)
Image Source: The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses on September 11, 2001, in New York City—Getty Images | Thomas Nilsson

"As soon as he said, 'Let me get off this phone call,' the first tower got hit," Caiazzo recalled. "My entire building shook. We all knew something wasn’t right and the elevators weren't working, so Caiazzo ran to the staircase. A few flights down, he turned back to check on his coworkers and found his boss sitting frozen on the steps. She couldn't move. It was like a panic attack. And she said to me, 'Danny, I don't want to die,' I put her on my back and I started carrying her down the stairs."


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Danny Caiazzo (@dcaiazzo)


 

Upon reaching the 10th floor, an announcement over the loudspeaker assured the workers that Tower 2 was secure and people could return to their work but Caiazzo did not pay attention to it and continued his climb downstairs. He didn't go back up even when a friend suggested him to after meeting him in the lobby of the building. "People were jumping out of the building and landing literally 20 feet away from me. I heard a noise coming from the other way. As I turned my head, the building that I just walked out of exploded. I just started running," Caiazzo told the outlet.

Image Source: The rubble of the World Trade Center smoulders following a terrorist attack September 11, 2001 in New York. A hijacked plane crashed into and destroyed the landmark structure. (Photo by Porter Gifford/Corbis via Getty Images)
Image Source: The rubble of the World Trade Center smolders following a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, in New York. A hijacked plane crashed into and destroyed the landmark structure—Getty Images | Porter Gifford

He was injured by the falling debris and he still remembers the look of horror on everyone's face. When he was diagnosed with PTSD, Caiazzo regretted not being able to save more people that day. "I had to change my perspective. I realized that I was 23 years old and I actually saved a handful of people besides my boss who I carried down, I was responsible for the people leaving who didn't want to. Once I changed my perspective—which was a big thing for me—it turned some of the negative feelings to positive," he stated.



 

 



 

Following the advice of his therapist, he didn't go back to work at Wall Street. Instead, Caiazzo pursued a degree in music production and started his own independent label. The 45-year-old also produced the 2021 album, "Remedy Meets Wu-Tang" which went to rank at number one on iTunes. He also earned his master's degree in school counseling and child psychology and is currently working as a school guidance counselor.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Danny Caiazzo (@dcaiazzo)


 

"Talk about your feelings. Don't keep things inside. I always felt like the innocence that I had lost that day came back when he came home," he urged others like him. "You feel like nobody gets it, nobody gets what you are going through or what you've gone through or the experience. But if you're able to step out of that, you do realize that there are people who do share a lot of the same experiences and a lot of the same feelings and fears." Caiazzo continues doing what he truly loves and is now a loving father as well.



 

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