On February 26, 1993, Port Authority worker Carl Selinger boarded an empty elevator bound for his office on the 65th floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower. Seconds later, that elevator came to a stop.
"I thought it was a power failure of some sort," Selinger recalled.
Little did Selinger know that a 1,200 pound bomb had just detonated several hundred feet below him - tearing through an underground parking garage.
The attack caused heavy smoke to fill the buildings, including Selinger's elevator.
Fearing those moments would be his last, he quickly penned a letter to his family.
"A few thoughts if I'm fated to leave you. I love you very much," Selinger recounted.
But Selinger's worst thoughts did not come true. Five hours after becoming trapped, he was rescued by NYPD Sergeant Timothy Farrell. This week, they reunited for the first time since that day.
"It's not often that you get to reunite with people you got to rescue," Farrell said.
This month marks the 25th anniversary of the attack, which killed six people, including a pregnant woman, and foreshadowed a much more devastating attack eight years later.
This year the 9/11 Memorial and Museum is commemorating the anniversary with a special exhibit that includes the letter Sellinger wrote 25 years ago.
"Virtually everyone who walks in the door knows what happened on 9/11. But I would venture to guess that probably more than 90 percent do not remember or do not know about the first attack on the World Trade Center," said 9/11 Memorial & Museum President Alice Greenwald.
Lolita Jackson was just 25 years old and working in finance on the 72nd floor of the South Tower when the attack happened. She recalls hearing an explosion. But no safety announcements followed. She eventually escaped by walking down a pitch black staircase.
"You could not see your hand in front of your face," Jackson recalled.
Jackson would relive it all again on 9/11. On that day, she was working on the 70th floor of the South Tower. She says the attack eight years earlier helped her to survive.
"It made it a little easier to understand that this was something serious, whereas in '93 we were working in the buildings, everything was fine. It was totally unexpected," Jackson said.
Selinger was in Canada on September 11, 2001. Farrell helped respond to the attack.
All say they think differently about life, especially Jackson, who says the two attacks forced her to think long and hard about how she wanted to live. She eventually changed careers.
"Life is not promised to you. You can get killed at work. So you'd better love what you're doing," Jackson said.