‘Most helpless feeling.’ North Carolina woman who lived yards away from Twin Towers reflects 20 years later


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – If you ever step into Kathleen Britton’s home in North Carolina, there’s a painting of hers that will stick with you, it’s of the skyline of New York City, before Sept. 11, 2001.

Britton admits a large part of herself is still there.

“Every single detail of my life is different than it was at 8:30 that morning,” she said. “Nothing’s the same.”

Britton lived just 300 yards from the World Trade Center when she heard the first plane strike one of the towers. She said she went to see what was happening, and as that chaos came, there was more.

“It was coming from behind me,” she said. “Next thing you know, it flew straight into the World Trade Center and the debris started raining down.”

Britton worked for Merrill Lynch at the time, and her office was located near the towers. 

All this, essentially happened where she lived and worked. She saw the flames, the cries, the terror, and the victims.

“There was nothing you could do to help these people, and it was the most helpless feeling in the world,” she said.

She was in her condo when the towers came down, and her building was one of many covered in smoke and debris. She lived through that day. A day where she helped save lives.

“There were some people there for an economic summit at the World Trade Center that day and I redirected the where to go,” she said. “If they had stayed where they were, they would’ve been hit by debris when Tower 2 came down.”

In the days after, she helped so much more.

There’s a lot of reminders of what she keeps around her home; images, ribbons, news articles.

9/11 ultimately led to her losing her job at Merrill Lynch, and her moving to Charlotte in 2002.

But if you ever ask her about what happened 20 years ago, she’ll tell you what she knows, and why she remembers everything.

“Each moment was a decision that was important,” she said.

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