“I walked out in front of our fire truck and saw what looked like a hardback book on the ground. I picked it up, and it was a Bible. It was just a little tattered, but it was OK. I had such mixed emotions, that a Bible would be the only thing to survive something this awful. It served as a sign to me that these victims were now with God. I took the Bible and put it on the front of the bumper of our first engine to arrive. Eventually, an investigator asked me where I found it and collected it as evidence. Since then, I've spoken with many victims' family members, and it's very meaningful to them that the Bible was found. They consider it a miracle of sorts.”
– American Legion Post 257 member Dick Pristas, a first responder at the Flight 93 crash near Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, destroy the Downtown Athletic Club American Legion post in lower Manhattan, and the Kim Lau American Legion post in Chinatown serves as a relief station for first responders. When a Canadian radio station airs the request from a young girl to send stuffed animals and toys to New York to comfort the children there, an 18-wheeler arrives in Chinatown, and the stuffed animals are housed in the basement of the Chinatown post before distribution to kids. In Washington, D.C., National Commander Richard Santos is 23 minutes away from delivering testimony before a joint session of Congress when the Pentagon is attacked, and everyone is ordered to evacuate. The commander’s son, Steffen, is among the fire fighters who respond to the attack at the Department of Defense headquarters. Near Shanksville, Pa., where Flight 93 was flown into the ground after passengers seized control from hijackers. American Legion Post 257 Commander Dick Pristas is among the first responders at the crash site.