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The Villages
Friday, December 3, 2021

Villager who survived 1993 WTC bombing sings National Anthem at 9-11 anniversary event

A Villager who survived the 1993 World Trade Center bombing sang the National Anthem on Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack that toppled the twin towers.

Debbie Matut Perina was at work Feb. 26, 1993 at CBS on the 110th floor of Tower One when her office began filling up with smoke after a bomb exploded in a parking garage.

Her husband, Bob, had gone to the post office and was unaware what was happening until he received a call from Debbie, who was pregnant at the time.

Bob and Debbie Perina at the Sept. 11 remembrance event in The Villages
Bob and Debbie Perina at the Sept. 11 remembrance event in The Villages.

“Something has happened, our office is filling with smoke, I’ll call you later,” she told her husband.

She and another co-worker decided to stay in the office, but as the situation grew worse they realized the only way out was to get up to the roof. They were picked up by helicopters which hoisted them off the top of the tower. The helicopters landed at a nearby school and Debbie was transferred to an ambulance to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Bob watched the news, not knowing his wife’s fate. He finally got the call from Debbie that she was OK.

Six people were killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, 1,000 were injured and 50,000 people were forced to evacuate the buildings. Although Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda had ties to the 1993 bombing, the connections would not become clear until years later.

An event was held Saturday in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 2001 attacks
An event was held Saturday in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

It was a very proud moment for Debbie when she sang the National Anthem at the start of the Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony Saturday morning at The Villages Public Safety Department Station 44. 

“I cried through the whole thing,” said Debbie, who resides with her husband in the Village of Santo Domingo.

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