I had the honor of visiting the 9/11 Tribute Museum in Manhattan this past week. Mark Malone, VP Area Sales leader and I traveled down to film our 9/11 Tribute episode of Wake Up with Rhinebeck Bank. This experience was extremely moving. We saw artifacts from the tragic event, learned about 9/11 and heard from survivors. These survivors had so much to share.

Bank staff at Sept 11 exhibit

One of the survivors was Mark Malone our VP Area Sales Leader’s aunt. She skipped the first path train from Hoboken as it was full and wanted a seat. She decided to wait five minutes for the next train to come. She said that waiting for the next train, “was the best decision I ever made.”

She got emotional explaining that she was getting to the World Trade Center Station (underneath the buildings) as the first plane hit the north tower. Upon getting out of the train she listened to a Port Authority police officer yelling “run for your life, run for your life.” She was in shock, and had no idea what was going on but followed the instructions and ran as fast as she could. Had she been on the earlier train, she would have most likely been in the elevator on the way to her office on the 61st floor. She found herself in a state of confusion. After calming down a bit, she knew she needed to help others.

She completely changed from this horrific experience and later went on to volunteer at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum to share her story and to make sure the event’s history is being preserved and honored.

For me personally, hearing this first-hand from someone who lived through it brought me to tears. She lost almost everyone she knew – people she saw each and every day. She worked there for years and years and knew hundreds of people. I cannot imagine experiencing such a loss.

As we spoke to others who lost loved ones who served as firefighters and rescue personnel, they seemed to stand proud that their family and friends died doing what they loved and that they died saving others.

This was a rare moment and something I will personally never, ever forget. The extent to which people leap into action to save others at their own risk is always heartwarming. So many people innocently lost their lives that day, and so many more lost their lives trying to do everything they could to save complete strangers.

If you ever are in the city and have the time, stop down to visit the 9/11 Tribute Museum - they have so much to share and do everything they can to find out stories from real survivors.

(Member FDIC)

Michelle Barone-Lepore

SVP, Marketing

Michelle Barone-Lepore - Headshot