9/11 Survivor Tells Her Story

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Newton woman who was working in the World Trade Center ten years ago when a plane hijacked by terrorists hit the building, shares her story.

"I am a World Trade Center survivor."

Ruth Tumblin's message? To appreciate life. She saw so many lives lost on 9/11.

Wednesday, Tumblin has Bethel College students hanging onto every word as she recounts her terrifying experience that day. Tumblin says she separates her life into "before" and "now" after 9/11, with every day being a gift from God.

"It's a chance and an opportunity to do something good for someone," Tumblin says of the reason she shares her experience with others. Tumblin worked for a major brokerage firm on the sixth floor of one of the World Trade Center office buildings next to the Twin Towers.

"I was getting ready to start my computer when the building shook and there was a loud explosion," Tumblin recalls. "I turned around to see what could possibly have made such a horrible sound." What she heard, was an airliner crashing into a tower. Immediately people began to run for cover from falling debris. Tumblin saw several people who did not reach safety. "I watched as a piece of debris crushed [one man] him." She said she first thought the turmoil was the result of an earthquake.

Tumblin calls those who helped her escape to safety "God sent angels." The terrible things she witnessed left emotional wounds that are still fresh today. "At one point we were directly across from the towers," Tumblin says. "We witnessed as people jumped to their deaths."

Tumblin says she had to push her way through bodies just to leave the immediate area. Like so many others she left Midtown Manhattan on foot. Tumblin said she's been treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and still suffers from the experience. "I share my story to let people know God is good," she says. "Even in such a tragic moment God's presence was there."

Years later, Tumblin returned to Kansas to attend Bethel College. She graduated with a nursing degree there just last year. Tumblin says she was inspired by watching nurses at work on 9/11. Now, she works to aid and comfort others.

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