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Thousands perished in the September 11 terrorist attacks, but thousands more met the tragedy and its aftermath with courage and strength. The following profiles document the actions, reactions and perspectives of several unsung heroes from that tragic late summer day.
 
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photo Katherine Avery 24 Spartanburg, South Carolina, before September 11; now New York City
Avery arrived in New York just more than a week after September 11 to serve as volunteer coordinator at St. Paul's Chapel, an Episcopal church- turned relief center just yards from Ground Zero. More »
"It was death -- it smelled like it, it looked like it. What made it OK [was] the privilege [to work with volunteers and rescue workers] at St. Paul's.

-- Avery on her experiences at Ground Zero and St. Paul's Chapel
photo Thomas Burnett Jr. 38 San Ramon, California
Tom Burnett Jr. made four phone calls to his wife Deena from United Airlines Flight 93 after learning of the attacks on New York and Washington and pledged to "do something." More »
"All of us thought he would be able to take over the plane. I think we have always felt that he could do anything."

-- Burnett's mother, Beverly, on her feelings shortly before Flight 93 crashed
photo Benjamin "Keefe" Clark 39 Brooklyn, New York
A former Marine, Clark was working September 11 as the sole corporate chef for Fiduciary Trust on the South Tower's 96th floor. Clark urged hundreds of people to head down the stairs, only to die himself in the building's collapse. More »
"I still can't look at him in the past tense because I look at my children and the legacy is still there -- the giving, the caring, the loving person."

-- Lashawn Clark, Keefe's wife
photo Welles Crowther 24 Upper Nyack, New York
An equities trader on the South Tower's 104th floor, Crowther helped dozens of people to safety on September 11. His body was found in March 2002 alongside several firefighters and emergency workers at a suspected command post in the South Tower lobby. More »
"I see this incredible hero, running back and forth and saving the day... People can live 100 years and not have the compassion, the wherewithal to do what he did."

-- Judy Wein, who credits Crowther with directing her to safety on September 11
photo Isaac Ho'opi'i 39 McLean,
Virginia
A Pentagon police officer, Ho'opi'i ran back-and-forth from the burning building, carrying eight people to safety. On one of his last trips in, he yelled, "If you can hear me, head toward my voice." William "Wayne" Sinclair was one of several people who followed his voice to safety. More »
"I call him my guardian angel. I just didn't know they came in such a big package."

-- Sinclair on Ho'opi'i
photo Eric Jones 26 Oakland, California
A graduate student, Jones was driving to school when he spotted smoke over the Pentagon. He pulled into the building's parking lot and began rescuing people from the debris. More »
"Seeing these men and women, day after day, crawling through this rubble with complete disregard for their own safety in the hope of finding somebody: I think that is a great testament for the core of Americans."

-- Jones on his fellow rescuers
photo David Lim 46 Lynbrook, New York
Lim, a Port Authority K-9 officer, was in the South Tower when American Flight 11 slammed into the North Tower. He ran up to the North Tower's 44th floor before heading down after the South Tower was hit. He was on the fourth floor with six firefighters when the building fell. More »
"There are only 14 people on this Earth who know what it's like [to be] in a 110-story building when it collapses."

-- Firefighter Sal D'Agostino on the "special club" who were inside the towers when they fell and survived.
photo Amy Zelson Mundorff 33 Armonk, New York
A forensic anthropologist, Mundorff was nearly crushed in the collapse of the World Trade Center's South Tower. Two days later, she returned to work at New York's medical examiner's office and is working on the identification of the victims. More »
"I needed to just be a scientist about it. I did think about the fact that it could have been me on the table, so I didn't want to make it personal."

-- Mundorff on identifying victims at the city morgue
photo Maureen Schulman 43 Yorktown, New York
A New York firefighter for the past 20 years, Schulman arranged to work September 11 to rack up some overtime pay. Schulman arrived shortly after both towers had been hit, and she twice narrowly skirted death when the buildings fell. More »
"It was horrible to walk away from a situation where you knew thousands of people were in those buildings and there was nothing you could do about it."

-- Schulman on firefighters' frustrations
photo Yvette Washington-
Montagne
46 Brooklyn, New York
A New York City 911 operator for the last 21 years, Yvette Washington-Montagne talked to distraught family members and others injured in the terrorist attacks. She stayed on the job for 16 hours. More »
"She's everything we want an operator to be. She's the operator I would want my family to get if they ever called 911"

-- Sgt. James Butler on Washington-Montagne
 
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