BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — As the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City approaches, a Brevard County man is reflecting on his time spent searching through the rubble for survivors.
What You Need To Know
- Brevard County resident Wayne Struble responded to ground zero after the 9/11 attacks in New York City
- A founding member of the New Jersey urban search and rescue team, he was stationed only 3 nautical miles away
- He likened his two weeks searching for survivors to being on a battlefield
Despite two decades passing, Wayne Struble says the memories are as fresh and real as ever.
Struble knows a thing or two about safety and security — as disaster and emergency preparedness manager, he spends a lot of his time patrolling the grounds of Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center.
"We have the ability to (decontaminate) people if something happens, and our chillers to keep the hospital cold," he said.
But that that chilling, tragic Sept. 11, 20 years ago was something very different.
He was a founding member of the New Jersey urban search and rescue team, which responded to ground zero following the attacks.
"From where our office and station was, we're only 3 nautical miles from the World Trade Center site," he said.
He had left his wife and three year old daughter behind and joined the effort to find survivors.
After a grueling two weeks at ground zero, his team never found anyone alive.
"It felt like war," Struble said. "Pretty stark reality, something you never forget."
And as he walks the hospital grounds in Brevard County two decades later, he wants people to remember.
"It changed our world, and how we think," he said. "And how we go about things."