What it was like

Staff Writer

The West Point Junior Auxiliary and South Side Elementary sponsored a Skype session for the school and for West Clay Elementary, Friday, with Will Jimeno, a survivor of the attack on the World Trade Center, Sept. 11, 2001. It was his account that was made into the movie "The World Trade Center."
"We've been reading about 9/11 this week," Amanda Payne, a teacher at South Side and a member of the WPJA, said. "So they are familiar with who Will is and have been excited at the idea of meeting him today on Skype."

Jimeno was a member of the NYC Port Authority Sept. 11, 2001. The World Trade Center was overseen by the Port Authority. so when trouble began that morning he was one of the officers dispatched to the scene.
"We were not really aware of the fact the tower was damaged to the point it was," Jimeno said. "We were sent there to help people and that's what we were going to do. We were underground between the towers. We didn't know the building was falling down around us, or that the second tower had been hit."
Trapped under a wall of concrete, he was unaware that it was part of the South Tower of the World Trade Center that had just collapsed on top of him. Jimeno said he prepared to die, for the first time that day.

Jimeno, showed the gesture of "I love you," in sign language during the Skype.
“Do you guys know what this means in sign language?” Jimenon said.. “It means. ‘I love you.’
“This is something I always did to my wife and my little girl. So, at that point, I took my hands and I crossed them over (my chest), because I figured I was going to die and, if they found me, hopefully they will tell my wife, this is the way they found me, so she would know that I was thinking about her.”
He did this while Dominick Pezzulo, the fellow officer who spent nearly a half-hour trying to free him, instead of climbing out of the rubble, was succumbing to injuries he suffered when the area was pummeled during the collapse of the North Tower.

It was a second round of terror for Jimeno, Pezzulo and Sgt. John McLoughlin, perhaps the only people who survived the first tower’s collapse.
“Everything started happening again,” Jimeno said. “Just like before. Concrete was coming down really, really bad.I look over and I see my friend Dominick, two feet from me, and he’s dying. Blood’s coming out of his mouth. He’s crushed."
Jimeno said, ‘Dom, hold on.’ He said, ‘Willie, I’m dying.’
Jimeno said Pezzulo then took out his gun and fired it up through the only hole they could see in the rubble, in a last-ditch effort to attract attention from above.
“And then he died right next to me,” Jimeno said.

Jimeno and McLoughlin’s fight to be rescued was just beginning.
They were the only two to survive that day, according to Jimeno. It would take hours before they were found and dug out.
"I don't call the people who did this terrorists," Jimeno said. "I call them cowards. That's what they are, cowards. They caused the deaths of a lot of heroes that day, and a lot of innocent people. Just cowards."