The determination and faith in God that Guyanese-American, Stanley Praimnath had on 911, 20 years ago, helped him to escape from the burning 81st floor, where he was an executive for Fuji Bank in the south tower of the World Trade Center.
In an exclusive interview with Caribbean Life on Sept. 1, just before the 911 commemoration to honor the 2,983 men, women, and children lost, Praimnath, who now works virtually for a Japanese bank, from his Long Island, New York home, is still thanking the almighty, that he is alive and well.
The brave man, who has had speaking engagements with churches, schools, and universities at the invitation of the institutions over the years to give the account of his life-or-death experience, will spend the 2021 commemoration of the twin-towers, doing just that, in California and Maryland.
The Cyril Potter College of Education trained teacher, who immigrated to the United States, ironically in September of 1982, was rescued by Canadian-born, Brian Clark who came upon a frantic knocking from behind a wall, followed the sound, while waving a flashlight.
Praimnath, who was screaming for his life, praying, that he would be found alive, saw the light and reached out his hand, saying I am here, before Clark, pulled him to safety.
After the two pledged brotherhood for life, shook hands, hugged, and shared names, they braved dangerous obstacles, the burning building, and ran down the 81 flights of stairs to safety.
Covered in soot, and blood-soaked, the survivors were directed to an escape route, and recalled seeing firefighters, and police officers rushing into the building, risking their lives to save others.
Today, the heroes come together as a family and meet on special occasions, and stay in constant contact.
However, Preminath has stayed away from ground zero. He said he has visiting only twice, once to view the memorial museum where his voice is recorded giving an account of his rescue.
“I have never participated in the 911 commemoration because it has become much more of a political event, than anything else.”
He said it was not his favorite place to go visit anyway, as it brings back sad memories of the many people whom he had bonded with over the 13 years he worked at the World Trade Center, and who are now buried at ground zero of the terrorist attacks.
His said his delirium began when he was admitted to hospital, and the doctor who attended to him voiced that he was out of mind.
“Even though I could hear him talking, I could not respond because I felt numbed,” said Praimnath.
He would later have screaming episodes in his sleep, but found peace after therapy sessions recommended by his doctor.
Praminath, who recalled being battered, bruised, and covered in pulverized cement from the south tower inferno, said he was a ‘bloody mess’, and described his skin as falling off, during the many nightmares he experienced.
The survivor’s family also suffered to the extent that his wife was unrecognizable to him, and his last daughter who was 4 1/2-years old, screamed you are not my daddy. The repercussions from that tragic day, also affected his then, eight-year old daughter.
However, the healing began, when he realized that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond, all he can ask for, and since he was always a churchgoing person before his near death experience, “I was able to wrap myself around the cross and this is what helped me out greatly.”
“The more I spoke at churches, the more I got it out of my system. I walked away feeling a sense of relief that I did what I had to do, but can never understand why God put me through all of this, or allowed it to happen, so to speak.
“I could now go tell of the greatness of the almighty, and by God’s grace, I am alive and well. Beyond all odds, I made it, without any long-term effects,” he reiterated.
“When I called on God, he heard me, and answered me. If you call with your soul and mind, God will take over. I dove under that desk. Everything was demolished, but I lived, my bible was on that desk, a part of the plane was stuck in the entry door to my office, 20 feet from me,” were the terrifying memories shared by the brave survivor.
“I would like to tell families who are still going through the same situation, that there is noting too hard for God. He is sovereign, and he is able to ease broken hearts.”
“Going back to commemorate their loved ones is okay, if they want to pay tribute to the lives that were lost, but life is about getting up and going forward. This is a direct quote from my book, ‘Plucked from the Fire,’” said the author, who released the publication in 2004, co-written with Hennessey William.
“Plucked from the Fire” is being sold on Amazon.com.
All of the proceeds from the sale of the book are donated to Missions of Mercy, a Mother Theresa charity that go towards the rehabilitation of children in Calcutta, India.