Just before the clock struck nine in the morning New York time, Silvia San Pío, 26 years old, seven months pregnant, was already sitting at her workstation on the 92nd floor of one of the Twin Towers, in the heart of Manhattan. John Resta, her husband, was also there.
Silvia worked as an analyst at the Carr Futures company. As soon as her father, José Luis, a lawyer by profession, heard the news of the attack, he learned that his daughter had died. He went to work at the World Trade Center in downtown New York every day, and that is why that September 11, 2001, after the two aircraft crashed, he knew that it was very difficult, almost impossible, for him to have survived.
The first impact occurred at 8:48 in the morning. A commercial airliner from Boston was crashing into the north tower. Less than an hour earlier he had been hijacked by terrorists in mid-flight. 18 minutes later, at 9:06 a.m., a second commercial plane crashed into the second of the towers.
The plume of smoke was visible for miles around. The White House was immediately evacuated. An hour later the south tower, the second to be attacked, collapses. At 10:30 the north tower falls and the smoke spreads throughout Manhattan, flooding, like panic and terror, all the inhabitants of the Big Apple.
Twenty years have passed since a fateful journey that changed the world forever. The attack by Al Qaeda suicide bombers was a turning point on the world scene and left 2,996 dead. Silvia was among the victims. It was, according to the records, the only Spanish victim of the September 11 attacks.
Along with her, two other people of Spanish origin but with American nationality: Jerónimo Domínguez, a policeman who participated in the rescue work, and Edelmiro Abad, a bank employee of Burgos origin.
“No intention of revenge”
Silvia’s father, who still maintains his law office in Madrid, has not forgotten her, but he has never harbored a desire for revenge within him. “After 9/11 I maintained and I continue to do so that, in my opinion, terrorism must be fought without violence and without the intention of revenge,” he tells EL ESPAÑOL.
The days following the attack, this man, who is now more than 80 years old, spent visiting emergency posts, consulates and victim identification centers, removing every corner to locate his daughter and her daughter’s husband. All those places around the countless rubble that were generated after the fall of the Twin Towers.
No luck. In fact, the search began with a certain pessimism after seeing the images of the jihadist attacks on television. Nobody or almost nobody came out alive from under the remains of what were the two largest buildings in the world.
“I still can’t go to Ground Zero,” he said on the 10th anniversary of the catastrophe. He has been to the city many times again, but was never able to get close to the place where his daughter died. “The passage of time manages to appease the feelings, but these are repeated in a particular way each anniversary, especially in those that are as particular as this one, the tenth.”
During all these years, San Pío has dedicated himself to offering his services as a lawyer in the fight against terrorism. Two decades after what happened, he is still very committed to this cause. “Terrorism is undoubtedly the result of a totalitarian ideology, generally Marxist-revolutionary, who by carrying out criminal acts seeks to terrorize society, destabilize it, weaken it and finally achieve its political project. “
For San Pío it is “evident that the terrorists try to give a political meaning to their actions – to try to justify them – but that political sense or other arguments they use do not justify the intrinsic evil of their criminal actions.”
“Very little has been done”
Today, De San Pío maintains his office on Calle Hermosilla, in the center of Madrid. His daughter was very loved by everyone in the family. That was a severe blow. As soon as he saw the images of the planes and the towers, he was certain that she had died.
Since then, he has dedicated himself to helping other victims of terrorism: for example, those affected and relatives of those killed on 11-M. How to fight terrorism from the office? How to face this harsh reality with elegance and calm ?: “Among other solutions,” he says, “I would like to recall at this moment that a series of measures against terrorism were announced at the international level as a result of 9/11. Twenty years have passed and there have been done very little. “
San Pío would like that, among the measures to be implemented, “the promise made to create a new international order with cooperation between those countries that believe in peaceful means to achieve peace. “
The lawyer agrees that they continue to be remembered on certain dates such as the harshest reality: that terrorism continues to exist. And that it continues to constitute a real danger both in the West and in various parts of the world. And that you have to stay alert.
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