Today marks a day that changed the course of American history: the attacks on 9/11. 18 years ago, an act of violence and terrorism had left 2,977 dead in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, with 343 of them being paramedics and firefighters sacrificing their lives to help others. Today, this story isn’t focused on the atrocities that occurred on that day; today, we celebrate the people who fought for the living.

Meet Frank de Martini and Pablo Ortiz; the former was a construction manager while the latter was a Port Authority construction instructor. As the plane flew into the twin towers at the World Trade Center, these two ordinary men didn’t second guess their decision to help the victims in the tower. Incredibly, as people panicked and ran down the stairs, they grabbed some tools and ran up, helping people who were trapped within rooms or under debris. In total, their heroism saved more than 50 people, giving them the name “hero of the 89th floor.”

While these two ultimately lost their lives to the collapse of the building, their actions will never be forgotten. Read more stories like them on the 911 memorial site so that their stories, along with thousands more, could live on. As Colin Powell puts it, “you can be sure that the American spirit will prevail over this tragedy.”

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