Fifteen years ago, we witnessed the destruction of the World Trade towers.
In many ways, what happened on Sept. 11, 2001 has changed the world.
On Sunday, thousands were expected to gather in New York to honor those who were killed and those whose bravery helped save lives.
Firefighter Jonathan Ielpi was 29 years old, and a father of two when he was killed in the attacks on the World Trade towers
Lee Ielpi, Jonathan’s father and a retired firefighter, spent three months searching “Ground Zero” before he found his son’s remains. He then continued combing the debris for victims for another six months.
“The best that humanity could give us was here, searching. Every day 24 hours a day. Hands and knees,” Lee Ielpi said.
During that time, the damaged Liberty Deli became a gathering spot for rescue and recovery workers. Ielpi eventually turned the space into the '9/11 tribute center' - a kind of interim museum until the official one opened in 2014.
Not only did it stay open, it will move to a bigger space next spring, where it will continue to tell the story of 9/11 in the most personal terms.
“When I get to talk about my son I cry. I can't tell you how many times I cried this week,” Lee Ielpi said.
Pouring himself into his work has helped Ielpi move forward...but hasn't relieved the pain.
“The only thing 9/11 means to me, is I have not seen my buddy in 15 years and I miss... I have not seen my buddy in 15 years, and I miss my buddy,” Ielpi said.
The tribute center gave Ielpi a mission - to educate, enlighten and to understand how 9/11 changed the world.
There are 161 people with ties to Connecticut who were killed on 9/11.
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