MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a former first responder who rushed to ground zero to help, opened up about the experience.
“I remember the cloud, a big gray cloud, I remember thinking it was a scene out of a bad movie,” said Shaya Gutleizer, who went on to talk about the moments before the towers fell.READ MORE: French Forces Kill ISIS Leader Believed To Be Responsible For Sgt. La David Johnson’s Death
“Someone kinda passed a patient on to me, it was New York City Firefighter and he had a gash on his head. We put him in an ambulance and as the ambulance pull off and we turned around to head back in, that’s when we realized, it was coming down,” added Gutleizer.
Gutleizer said that’s when he and the other first responders took off running for cover.
“I decided to duck into a storefront. I still remember it clearly, it was one of those old fashion crisscross gates. So, I grabbed the gate and waited until I stopped hearing the roar of the building falling, then everything got quiet,” added Gutleizer.
“Then after a few minutes, we made the decision that we had to go back in because people might be trapped. So we kept running in and trying to get who we could.”READ MORE: COVID Booster Shot Confusion Ahead Of FDA Advisory Committee Meeting
Gutleizer said he and other first responders continued to help, until days later. They were eventually told to go home. But the memories of that day continued to haunt him.
With limited options to honor those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks in South Florida, Gutleizer created a memorial for them in his front yard.
His tribute includes 412 flags to represent the first responders killed that day. The flags are placed around models of the towers and in between the towers, there is a larger flag representing the victims.
“It’s what you call the flag of heroes, it was designed in 2001, 2002 and instead of the stripes across the flag, it has the names of everybody that was killed in the 9/11 attacks and those killed in the attacks of the World Trade Center in 93,” said Gutleizer.MORE NEWS: Rodney Rodriguez, Driver In High-Speed Crash That Killed 3, Finally Booked Into Jail
“The purpose of the memorial is to keep their memory alive, to give those that want to spot mourn a spot to remember and most important for the next generation for the kids that asked to come see it and hear about it and learn about it,” he went on.