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Former Cleveland firefighter reflects on 9/11 and unpacks the PTSD still affecting him today

PHOTOS: Remembering the lives lost in the 9/11 attacks, 16 years ago
Posted at 7:11 PM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 23:05:35-04

CLEVELAND — At 131st and Bartlett in Cleveland, Kenny Guyton stands and gazes at the old fire station he worked in for years.

“This place holds a lot of memories for me,” said Guyton.

Sept. 11 is a memory that will never fade for the former Cleveland firefighter who was stationed in the now vacant and decrepit firehouse.

"Seeing this bright blue sky, you would say it’s a beautiful day,” said Guyton. “But it reminds me of 9/11 because it’s just how the weather was that day."

Guyton was out responding to a medical call and oblivious that the entire country was paralyzed until he glanced at the patient’s TV.

“It was a skyscraper with smoke pouring out of it and I asked, ‘Whats the name of that movie you're watching?' The patient told me that it wasn’t a movie and that it just happened,” said Guyton.

While watching the coverage, the pain of something happening over 400 miles away from Guyton felt closer than ever.

“When you sit and you watch a bunch of people that do the same thing that you do just die like that, Its' really something," said Guyton.

On that tragic day in September 20 years ago, 343 New York firefighters died while running toward danger.

For Guyton, the parallels of the dark day haunt him 20 years later.

“I know that if I was there, I would’ve been at the World Trade Center,” said Guyton. “Any firefighter worth his soul would want to be there for the big events, you want to do something that makes a difference."

Now retired, therapy carried Guyton over his pit of post traumatic stress disorder and 20 years later, Guyton’s old station resurfaces memories of all 343 of his fallen brothers and sisters.

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