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Blind 9/11 Survivor From Chicago Remembers Escape With Guide Dog

Michael Hingson and Roselle the guide dog
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CHICAGO (CBS) – A Chicago native who survived the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York is remembering this day 12 years ago.

Michael Hingson has been blind since he was born 63 years ago. On Sept. 11, 2001, he was on the 78th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, with his guide dog, Roselle, underneath his desk when the first jetliner hit the building. American Airlines Flight 11 crashed about 18 floors above Hingson, on the other side of the building.

Hingson said the building shook about 20 feet, and stopped. He and his guide dog made the long stairway descent to safety, about an hour after the first plane hit.

“People were actually following me” he said. Because he was so calm with Roselle, the others with him were able to stay calm, too.

Hingson had been a computer company sales manager at the time. Now, he gives motivational speeches around the world, selling the ideas of trust and teamwork.

He wrote a book, “Thunder Dog,” about the trust and teamwork he Roselle have.

“I never expected I would start a public speaking career. I’ve been in sales most of my life. So now, instead of products, I’m trying to sell ideas of trust and teamwork,” he said.

Hingson said it’s tougher to talk about 9/11 to young people who were not even born, or were too young to remember. However, he said he draws them in with his personal story, and explains the importance of remembering that day.

Hingson was born in Chicago, and grew up in California. He was scheduled to speak Thursday at Joliet Junior College.