For the fourth time since the deadly attacks on The World Trade Center, 9/11 survivor Stanley Praimnath shared how God led him out of the South Tower that fateful day.
Praimnath worked as an assistant vice president at Fuji Bank on the 81st floor. Even 14 years later, the day still reminds him of God’s power over evil.
“I was that man that saw the destruction process and now I am looking at the rebuilding process. You can build bigger, better, taller, stronger, but until you turn to god and acknowledge Him, He will make the enemies break down the wall.” Praimnath had said to start off his story.
Praimnath’s company occupied the 79th through the 82nd floors in the South Tower. Praimnath had been working there for thirteen years and was going through his daily routine when a plane hit the North Tower.
“When I was in the elevator, I wasn’t aware because the building was soundproof and I didn’t hear anything when the north tower was hit. As I glanced at the tower I saw huge fireballs were raining down from the tower. ”
Praimnath and a co-worker got on the elevator and proceeded down to the lobby and were stopped by the guard.
“[The guard] told us the building was safe and secure and that we should go back to our offices.”
Praimnath told his coworker to go home as he went back upstairs to his office. When Praimnath reached his office his phone was ringing. He answered and it was a woman from the branch in Chicago. She told him to get out of the building immediately.
“‘I don’t have enough time to explain just get out.’ As she was saying this, I saw the plane and it was almost hypnotic,” Praimnath said.
“I watched as it came closer and I could see it tilting. I said, ‘God you have the power now,’ and I dove under my desk.”
The plane destroyed the four floors that housed Praimnath’s company.
The floors above him caved in and were hanging over his desk. His desk was the only one left standing, and on top of his desk sat his Bible.
Praimnath took in his surroundings and noted many electric cables in the sprinklers and objects being sucked out of the windows because of the air pressure created by the broken windows. Everything around him was on fire.
Praimnath knew he couldn’t make it out alive on his alone. Praimnath said he cried out to God, “Send somebody to help, anybody.”
And within seconds a man appeared with a flashlight.
This man, Brian Clark, worked on the 84th floor as an executive of a brokerage firm.
Praimnath dodged electric cables and flames, struggling to breathe the air that was filled with dust.
He described the experience as having a bag of cement being thrown into the air as it was that thick.
Praimnath was able to get around all these obstacles but there was still one thing in his way, a wall blocking his path to safety.
The man suggested he climb over, but after a failed attempt resulting in a hand injury, Praimnath knew he couldn’t make it over the wall.
“I got up, and I felt as if a power came over me,” he said. “I felt goose bumps all over my body and I’m trembling, and I said to the wall, ‘You’re not a challenge for me.’ I balled my hand into a fist and put it clean through the wall”.
Praimnath and Clark were two of four men that made it after the plane hit the South Tower.
Once the two friends made it out of the tower they headed for the Catholic Church up the road.
“The church was a safe haven for me. Somewhere coming down the stairs I’m thinking to myself, though I don’t know why, I have to go to church. I knew that this was God’s doing, and when the South Tower imploded, the church took the force and kept us from the vacuum of dust and debris. We were on the backside of the church so I was protected and it was my safe haven.”
Praimnath became a pastor and worked for a local church for many years after the incident, working to share God’s word.
Students like freshman art major Chriscina Lampkin were touched by Praimnath’s story.
“I thought it was really sad how his family had been through so much and thought he was dead and that his daughter was going to commit suicide if he didn’t come home,” she said.
Not only does he share God’s word with those he meets, but he also travels across the country sharing his story of how ‘God’s divine grace’ spared his life that tragic day.
“There are many days where I would think to myself ‘why you Stanley? Why you?’ But then one day I thought, ‘why not you?”