In her book “Out of the Shadow of 9/11,” Christina Ray Stanton describes how that day changed her life.
NEW YORK — Christina Ray Stanton was working as a New York City tour guide and living in lower Manhattan when a hijacked plane struck the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Stanton published “Out of the Shadow of 9/11” two years ago.
“It’s not a story of being in the tower. It’s not a story of being in the plane, or terrorism, or the rescue workers, which are all very important stories,” Stanton said. “But it helps to give a broader scope, an understanding of how 9/11 caused lots of ripple effects.”
Now, on the 20th anniversary of the attacks, her memories of that day are still vivid.
“Right over our shoulders came the second plane that swooped right in front of us, went into the South Tower,” Stanton said. “And actually the shockwaves from that plane, blew us back into our apartment, and knocked me out on the living room floor, so I woke up to my dog actually jumping on my torso.”
Stanton ran out of her apartment with her husband and dog. It wasn’t until she got down to the street that she realized she was still in her pajamas and didn’t even put shoes on.
“I ended up staying like that pretty much the whole rest of the day, outrunning debris and smoke and trying to breathe, saying goodbye to my husband, being rescued by a boat,” she said
That boat took them to New Jersey.
“We were displaced for two weeks, which actually surprises a lot of people to know that 25,000 of us were displaced in the days and weeks after 9/11,” Stanton said.
She and her husband started showing different symptoms of PTSD immediately.
“I was completely manic … Literally like I had been blown out of a cannon,” Stanton said. “My husband was the complete opposite: he couldn’t stay awake.”
Stanton didn’t feel safe in Manhattan after that. She said it took going back to her childhood home in Florida and a lot of therapy before she felt ready to return to New York in January 2002.
Now, when Stanton looks back at that day, she doesn’t just see it as a tragedy.
“When I think of 9/11, I think of two things,” she said. “I think of the lives that we lost, and I think of all the heroes that showed up at the worst of humanity to show the best of humanity.”
Stanton wants younger generations to honor the tragedy by showing kindness.
“Every single person can be a point of light, and one person can make a huge difference in another person’s life.”
RELATED: From 9/11’s ashes, a new world took shape. It did not last.
RELATED: Annual firefighters’ march to Iowa State Capitol planned for Saturday
WATCH: Full interview with Christina Ray Stanton