9/11 survivor shares lessons learned from tragedy

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Thirteen years after the 9/11 attacks, Lauren Manning told of her brush with death and remarkable recovery Tuesday at the UVU Grand Ballroom.

At the time of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Manning was a senior vice president and partner at Cantor FItzgerald, an investment back headquartered at the World Trade Center’s north tower. Manning said her workday began as any other, though she was running about 30 minutes late.

Manning recalled having just entered the north tower and was en route to the elevator when she sensed a disturbance.

Then came the explosion. Flames engulfed most people around Manning, and everything collapsed. People were lying on the floor, badly injured. Manning was no an exception, as she suffered heavy burns.

And it was at that point that Manning’s life spiraled into a direction she never expected: a battle to survive. More than 80 percent of Manning’s body surface was burned on Sept. 11. Following the attack, she spent one month in a drug-induced coma, and spent six months in New York hospitals recovering from the traumatic, nearly fatal injuries.

Manning said in she during her recovery process, she decided to embrace the love and support from her loved ones and to show her gratitude for the opportunity to continue with life.

“What I began to appreciate and suddenly have the epiphany that the city suddenly has become a warzone,” Manning said. “So many have been killed, so few have lived and that I was their hope and my hope was their hope and my journey was their. And I would not let them down.”

While sharing her story, Manning shared five lessons she learned while on her journey back to a normal life. Manning advised students to keep a positive attitude when facing hardships.

“Defeat is temporary,” Manning said. “Things happen and you’re not the first person things happen to, so get on with it. There is only one direction to go and that direction is worth.”

Manning also told students to appreciate the values they obtain on the way to success; she said people should not waste time regretting things that already happened, but analyzing what they can do in the futre.

Manning’s third point was that no one ever knows how strong they are until they look back and realize the “unmeasured strength” inside.

Manning’s fourth lesson was about attitude. She said people’s attitudes towards the world determine their transformation when everyone else is on the same page. Her fifth and final piece of advice was about the essence of defining “constructive actions” when the world is full of anarchy.

“There are continual questions and reassessment that you must make in your life just as you confront this term and this semester,” Manning said. “Your mission, your desire, has to reconcile the reality and you may not get the test grades you want, you may have something that happened to you didn’t expect but you have to double down, bring in the focus and take one step at a time.”

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