Men at ground zero say no one should forget 9/11

Published: September 7, 2021 9:24 PM EDT
Updated: September 8, 2021 3:23 PM EDT

Many of us remember the day of Sept. 11, 2001 clearly.

We went to American Legion Post 110 in Port Charlotte, where two men we interviewed remember every detail from the horrific day.

“I was sitting in my office,” Vincent Delellis said.

“I was home,” Niles Nielson said.

Neither Nielsen nor Delellis can forget 9/11, and they don’t want to. They remember every little detail of that awful day, especially the pain.

“You know what it was? It was tragic,” Delellis said.

Does it feel like 20 years ago?

“Yeah. But you think about it all the time. I mean, just 20 years. You think about it every day,” Nielson said.

Twenty years ago, Nielson worked for the Port Authority of New York.

Delellis was among those who built the lights so the grim task of identifying the dead could continue 24 hours a day.

Both men didn’t know each other at the time, but they both spent a lot of time at ground zero.

“We seen the second plane hit,” Delelllis said. “And then after that, we started scrambling. I got calls that they were getting a team together to go down to help with the digging and everything.”

Nielson headed straight to the pile.

“I might have went through about maybe six or seven pairs boots because a pile was still hot and would melt the soles of the shoes,” Nielson said.

How many friends do you think you lost that day?

“A lot,” Nielson said. “I know I went to all the cops, police funerals that are killed … Whoa, I got ’em on back of my shirt.”

The names of all his friends killed on Sept. 11 were on the back of Nielson’s shirt.

“Emotionally, you’re never gonna get over it. You know, you always remember people that you will with … You never get over it,” Nielson said.

Time has not allowed Neilson and Delellis to get over what happened in New York City, at the Pentagon and in the field in Pennsylvania.

If 9/11 is history to you, these two men pray you learn it and never forget it.

“I think the next generations have to know, you know?” Delellis said. “That we don’t repeat the past.”

“For me, for the people and the families and the wives and the kids that got brought up without fathers or mothers? I think that’s very important,” Nielson said.