The story

On September 11, 2001, Kathryn Freed watched from two blocks away as a plane hit the World Trade Center's north tower.

"Honestly, it was so surreal," Freed said. "We heard the plane coming -- it was very low and very loud -- and we watched it go right over our heads; we just watched it hit dead center the north tower. I stood there and watched the skin of the building come off. It looked like tinsel from a Christmas tree falling down."

A short while later, Freed saw the second plane plow through the south tower in a giant fireball. And as she headed back toward her apartment, four blocks from what was soon to be known as ground zero, the south tower collapsed, sending a plume of debris into the air and straight down her street.

Freed believes that the lingering cloud of dust -- caused by the towers' collapse and the digging out of ground zero -- caused some of her long- and short-term medical problems, such as her "WTC cough" and other respiratory issues.

She's among the many residents of lower Manhattan, emergency responders, recovery workers, commuters and passers-by to have developed serious, sometimes chronic medical problems since the terrorist attack seven years ago. Read full article »

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