I had the great pleasure of joining Katie Couric once again the other week! Since the beginning Katie has been a part of making a difference in my life. She didn’t just cover the story during the height of the tragic aftermath of 9.11, she has remained a part of my life and recovery always checking in and giving me the support and dignity so necessary to anyone going through difficult times.
How Lauren Manning Perseveres 12 Years After 9/11
Twelve years ago, as the world grappled watching the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks unfold; I endured a day that forever changed my life. When the fires blasted through the lobby of the north tower, seconds after the first plane was crashed into the building, I was engulfed in wall of flame and thousand-degree heat. I battled when it would have been far easier to yield to the pain and to simply let go, but I saw the face of my 10-month-old son and I vowed I wouldn’t leave him. Instead, I chose to fight and I decided to live.
When President Obama recently cited me regarding resilience—a tribute that took me completely by surprise—it was for my practicality at that moment rather than my eloquence. I was burned over more than 80 percent of my body, and the president quoted me saying, “That’s my reality. I put a Band-Aid on it, literally, and I move on.”
It was actually a lot more than a Band-Aid and it has been a fight that has lasted for years. I measured “moving on” back then in terms being able to inhale one second to the next. Almost no one thought I would survive and I couldn’t blame them as I lay in drug-induced coma for almost two months, my odds of survival lingering in the single digits. I remained in the hospital for more than half a year.