From Ground Zero to securing the skies

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — David Moran and Scott Norcutt, two combat veterans called to serve at Ground Zero in 2001 and now working with the TSA, said they’re trying to prevent another disaster from the skies.

They sat down with the media Friday, three days before the 16th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil.

“I’m looking at a rubble pile that was 17 square acres, and we didn’t know if anybody was going to survive that,” Moran said. “But I just felt like somebody had to be here to help. And it was a monumental job.”

Moran’s job now as a lead TSA agent at Buffalo International Airport put him back on the front lines of securing one of the busiest industries in the world.

Sixteen years ago, Moran’s front line was protecting what was known as “the box,” the perimeter around the rubble left behind by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

“There was like a snow coming down. And the snow was actually the soot and the ash,” he said. “And the smoke cloud coming from all over, the ground was just smoking. It was coming from every hole, every crack and every crevice.”

Moran keeps those memories close by — literally carrying pieces of the World Trade Centers with him in his briefcase. He has albums full of devastating pictures — and a story to go with each one.

He remembered checking for survivors in a building near Ground Zero, and the immediacy of evacuation.

“A half a cup of coffee on the desk, there were flowers in flower pots on the desks,” he said. “There were coats on the back of the chairs. You could smell perfume in one room, cologne in another, and then you would smell the destruction and the death in another room.”

Moran says he wishes more travelers would remember, especially as they move through airport security.

“We know that this is a very real threat. And people need to remember. People are very forgetful, and very complacent, and they shouldn’t be.

“I’ve been in a war, and the war was tough. But this made the war very small,” he said. “This was on my home turf, this was in my home country. This is a place where we’re all supposed to feel safe.”

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