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Northern California Men In World Trade Center On 9/11 Share Their Stories

LODI (CBS13) - Saturday marks 20 years since the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Two survivors from Northern California were in the World Trade Center for very different reasons that day, and they both made it out at about the same time.

On September 11th, survivors ran. They tried to call their families and get home. Among them are Richard Hannaford from Natomas and Corey Daniel from Lodi.

"By the grace of God, my guardian angels were really busy that day," said Hannaford.

"I ran all day. I went on foot back to my hotel," said Daniel.

They were in Tower 2, 20 floors apart.

Hannaford had worked in New York City for decades as a corporate bond broker.

Daniel had just arrived for a two-week training and the attack happened two days in. They both remember the shaking as they ran downstairs.

"It took the impact of that plane, bowed and then righted back up," said Daniel.

'I didn't know what to do except I knew that if we got down we'll be OK," said Hannaford.

Daniel ran through a stairwell full of panicked people. Hannaford said the one he found was empty.

But the biggest horror happened when they were finally out.

"People falling from the sky. A couple holding hands and these sounds I was hearing were people's bodies hitting the ground," said Hannaford.

Daniel remembers the streets at a standstill. He thought of his wife, worried at home.

The payphones didn't work, so he stopped a woman with a Blackberry and asking to send this message.

"I said, 'hey, it's me, it's Corey. I'm OK, I'm out. I'll talk to you from the hotel tonight,'" said Daniel.

As Hannaford waited for his phone call, Tower 1 collapsed.

"I thought to myself oh my god it's going to fall. And it did and so did I. I ended up in some woman's lap," said Hannaford.

Hannaford doesn't remember how he got to his home near the city.

Daniel says it took him more than four days by bus and plane to get home to Lodi.

He had two photos with him, bought two days after the attack.

"There's even some scratches on the original piece because they were shuffled around when I had them on the bus going back from New York," said Daniel.

He carried something to remember. On the 11th, survivors carried nothing but themselves. Twenty years later, they carry grief for innocent lives lost and broken hearts.

"I can still see those faces today," said Hannaford.

Both survivors say they hope the younger generations continue to learn about 9/11 and understand how it changed so many lives. Both say it left them with more awareness for security and safety.

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