(CBS DETROIT) – A Michigan man shares his story of surviving the 9/11 attacks 20 years later and how he’s now working to honor local people who died at ground zero.


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“For me, I was fortunate,” said Patrick Anderson, Michigan Remembers 9/11 Fund Co-Founder. “I was given a chance to escape, but many people were not.”


Patrick Anderson recalls the day 20 years ago that changed his life.


A trip to New York for business turned into a brush with death, and amid his pain, a purpose was found.


“I remember those people, including the fireman for an example that helped me get out,” said Anderson. “Some of whom didn’t make it.”


It’s a story that he continues to tell and vows to never forget.


“Well, for me, as for so many people, it started, a day was a beautiful day in New York City, and it very soon turned terribly tragic with so many people dying in just a few hours,” said Anderson.


On Sept. 11, 2001, Anderson was in New York for a conference, and while sitting in his hotel room, he heard the first plane hit.


“I was just, I was just… very, very close to being killed,” said Anderson.

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A memory that plays so vividly in his mind, and even after two decades, it never gets easier to share.


“Hard to believe… but at least 42 people from Michigan,” said Anderson. “There’s probably some others that we haven’t found yet.”


An economist by trade, Anderson took a step out of his comfort zone in 2007 to become a voice for 9/11 victims from his home state.


Anderson co-founded the Michigan Remembers 9/11 fund to never forget the names, and lives, behind the headlines.


The organization highlights 42 people with Michigan ties who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


“When I think about the families who lost loved ones, it’s really still painful ‘til this day, but those of us who were given a chance to go forward, I think we have some duty to remember the people who we lost,” said Anderson.


It’s a mission that he’s dedicated to.


Forever grateful for the brave men and women who ran towards danger to help others while memorializing those who took their last breath at Ground Zero.


“I do feel blessed,” said Anderson. “I do feel that you know God gave me a second half of life, and I don’t forget that.”

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