The 9/11 decade: A shared moment of crisis, and the anguish that remained

Monday, August 29, 2011 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

OLD BRIDGE, N.J. — It wasn’t until she collapsed outside the building that the pain took over.

Throughout the 78-storey trek to the bottom of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, Donna Spera was unaware of her surroundings, the passage of time or her own condition.

She remembers blood on the stairs, but didn’t think it was hers. She recalls crawling over an elevator smashed through the stairwell, but not how her legs became lacerated. She couldn’t figure out why a friend wrapped his shirt around her hand.

But once outside, she became aware of the scorched and melted skin on her arms and back; of her gashed knees, shattered hand and bloody scalp. And that’s when Dominic Guadagnoli grabbed her.

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