Retired NYC sanitation supervisor remembers 9-11

Posted at 10:29 PM, Sep 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-11 22:29:53-04

The horrifying images of planes crashing into the twin towers in New York City are still with us today. For many on Ground Zero those images are still in their nightmares. 

On the anniversary of September 11, Anthony Quaranti living in West Palm Beach, holds onto a small piece left behind. 

"Here’s a piece of the plane, that I found what’s left of it," said Quaranti as he held a piece of the aircraft he found on Ground Zero. 

Fourteen years later, the memories are still clear. 

"When I got to the site I basically started crying cause there was body parts, there was a lot of sadness, it was, I thought I was like in a twilight zone movie. I didn’t think it was real, but it was very real," said Quaranti.

Quaranti was a supervisor for New York City's sanitation department. When he got the orders to mobilize, he didn't think twice. 

"This was West Street, don’t look like a street anymore," said Quaranti as he pointed at a photo from Ground Zero. 

A career sanitation worker thrust into a nightmare. Quaranti recalls gathering remains of office workers who had jumped from the burning towers. 

"I started with the sanitation job picking up garbage, I never thought the day would come where I was going to be picking up people or body parts," added Quaranti. 

He could keep up with the chaos. It was the quiet moments that were dreadful. 

"We’d have moments of silence, we’d be quiet and listen to hear if we had any calls for help," said Quaranti, remembering the days following 9-11. 

He lost many friends and he pays the physical price for his work at Ground Zero, like so many workers there. He says his lungs are damaged. Every breath is labored, but he has no regrets. 

"People say 'oh you were like a hero,' I’m not a hero. We just going our job. That’s what Americans do," said Quaranti.