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9/11 First Responder Charles Giles Remembers 11 Years Later [AUDIO/VIDEO]

Where were you on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001? It is a day that will be etched in our memories for the rest of our lives. For some, the emotional and physical scars will never heal.

Charlies Gilies with Governor Christie
Charlies Gilies with Governor Christie (Charles Gilies)

Charles Giles, a Barnegat resident and 9/11 First Responder, recalls the events of that day on the 11th anniversary.

Giles worked for Citywide EMS when the call came in. He and his co-workers sprung into action trying to rescue and help as many people as they could. After suffering injuries when the south tower came down, defying medical advice, he went back to Ground Zero and worked on the cleanup for the next three months. He’s now paying the ultimate price with his declining health.

In and out of doctors offices for the past nine years, Giles can remember the days when he was feeling good and when nothing was ailing on him. He’s taking over 30 medications a day, was bed ridden for a while and walks with a limp. He’s also been diagnosed recently with three additional conditions, some are directly linked to breathing in the toxic dust at the pile while others can be attributed to side effects from the powerful drugs the doctors put him on.

We last spoke with Charles Giles on the 10th anniversary of the attacks last year. When we spoke to him this year, we asked him a question we repeated again this time. Would he do anything different? His answers were consistent both times.

“The answer has and always be the same. I wouldn’t do anything differently. In fact, if I could have gotten to the scene faster or stayed there longer I would have. Even though I’m sick and dying, all of the first responders will tell you that we would have done the same thing. We had to be there. We had to try and help.”

Charlies Gilies
Charlies Gilies (Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ)

Now 44 years old, Giles has been advocating for first responders for years. He’s pleased the government is finally moving forward on their healthcare.

Giles has watched hundreds of first responders, many of whom were friends of his, get sick and die. He tells us he’s living each of his days one day at a time like everyday is his last.

Giles is supported by his wife and two daughters. He is thrilled the new World Trade Center is rising on the New York skyline.

Giles says, “It’s an inspiration really. It’s a symbol and a message. You can’t attack the U-S. We will defend ourselves and come out stronger.”


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