To deal with the vast range of powerful emotions after the September 11th attacks, many New Yorkers turned to writing. Putting pen to paper helped them to work through some of the frustration, sadness and disbelief that were perhaps the most indelible marks left after that tragic day. Some of these writers were spectators who lost close friends and family in the Twin Towers. Others were direct victims of the attacks. One woman, Lauren Manning, wrote an incredible autobiography of her experience on that luckless day, and the subsequent years of her survival and transformation.
Even in her workout clothes, she looks elegant, her bright blond hair fashionably cropped, her bright blue eyes meticulously made-up. She lies back on a piece on gym equipment, grabs the handles on two pulleys and grimaces a bit as she pulls and pushes against the weight. She does a lot of repetitions. But this is not a gym, it is a hospital. It is where Lauren Manning still spends most days, working fiercely to overcome the injuries she suffered on Sept. 11.
No company suffered on Sept. 11 as much as the bond broker Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost 658 people. One of the few employees to survive that day was Lauren Manning, who was in the lobby of the World Trade Center’s North Tower when the first plane hit.
For an international symbol of hope and courage, Lauren Manning turns out to be a lot of fun — and often very funny. Mrs. Manning, who was engulfed by a fireball in the lobby of 1 World Trade Center while on her way to work on Sept. 11, refers to the time she spent in a coma as “that three-month hiatus when I was napping.” Her most recent operation at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where she spent months in the burn unit and in July had surgery on her shoulder, was “five days back in the Big House.” And when her husband, Greg, says she can now sing as well as she used to — her voice is becoming far less hoarse — she is quick to point out that “he’s deaf in one ear.”
In a season of sorrow for so many, some glad tidings: Lauren Manning lived, after all. On Sept. 11, Mrs. Manning was engulfed in a fireball and burned over most of her body as she entered the north tower of the World Trade Center. She prayed to die, she told her husband that day, but then decided to live, for him and for their year-old son.
SURVIVOR FINDS HER INNER STRENGTH
NEW YORK – A decade after nearly being burned alive at Ground Zero, Lauren Manning has learned to live with “my new normal.” Or, as she says, “I dwell in an imperfect place, but it feels just right to me.”
Most Americans will pause on the upcoming tenth anniversary of 9/11, taking a moment out of their year to reflect on the meaning of that tragic day. But Lauren Manning has lived with the aftermath of that event every minute of every day for the past decade.
On the spectacular September morning when two passenger jets tore through the World Trade Center towers in a heretofore unimaginable act of terrorism, Lauren Manning happened to be in the lobby of the north tower when it was hit by the first plane. Waiting for an elevator that would take her to the 105th floor, where she worked for financial-services company Cantor Fitzgerald, Ms. Manning had heard a piercing whistle and attributed it to construction noise—but then she felt the building quake and a fireball flashed from the elevator bank like a blast from hell, engulfing her.
Striding across the lobby of a Manhattan high-rise, she exudes the confidence she once routinely projected as a senior vice president and partner at Cantor Fitzgerald, the bond-trading firm that lost 658 people on September 11, 2001. That day as she entered the building, a fireball raced down the elevator shaft and blasted her back out, burning more than 82% of her body. Doctors gave her just a 15% chance of surviving.
This is the story of a woman who decided to live. No one knows yet if she will. Her name is Lauren Manning, and on the morning of Sept. 11 she had just walked into the north tower of the World Trade Center when the first plane hit. She was engulfed in a fireball.
(CNN) — On September 11, 2001, a fireball engulfed Lauren Manning as she arrived to work at the Twin Towers. Now, after suffering burns to more than 80 percent of her body, and being given a 10 percent chance of survival, Manning is nearing the end of physical therapy and savoring every moment of a life nearly lost.