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9/11 Drove Greenwich Leader to Serve

Greenwich Selectman David Theis said the news of Osama bin Laden’s death brought back to him the moment he stood beneath the North Tower on 9/11 and promised to get more involved.

“For [me] … like so many people in Greenwich personally, it caused me to want to get more involved in the world around me,” said Theis. “I am moved, pleased and proud that we got him, but I didn’t think it was going to take this amount of time.”

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2011, Theis had an 8 a.m. meeting at the World Trade Center. “I remember walking out of the subway station and looking up at the North Tower and thinking that building sure looked nice in the morning light,” he said.

As he waited in the subway to get back to Grand Central Terminal, Theis said he began seeing people coming down the stairs looking upset. "This one woman sat at the bottom of the steps and put her head in her hands.” He gave his phone to some people who asked to call loved ones who were working at the World Trade Center. When he dialed a number for the woman, it said “no service.”

Once he got to Grand Central, Theis said, “I went outside to look, and smoke was going across the skyline. It only looked like it was a few blocks away, but it was actually all the way downtown." He took the last train back to Greenwich before Metro-North shut down. Theis said the events of that day inspired him to do something more and run as town selectman.

In his East Putnam Avenue Wells Fargo office, where he works as a financial advisor, Theis hanged a 9/11 flag on his wall in memoriam. “Although this is a great day for freedom-loving people in America, I would remind people that I don’t think this marks the end of the global war on terror as we know it. When you cut off a head of a snake, the body keeps moving for some time.”

What are your own Sept. 11 memories? How did you react to hearing of bin Laden’s death? Comment below.

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