Faith. Trust. Triumph.
“I trust Roselle with my life, every day. She trusts me to direct her. And today is no different, except the stakes are higher.” Michael Hingson
First came the boom?the loud, deep, unapologetic bellow that seemed to erupt from the very core of the earth. Eerily, the majestic high-rise slowly leaned to the south. On the seventy-eighth floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower, no alarms sounded, and no one had information about what had happened at 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001?what should have been a normal workday for thousands of people. All that was known to the people inside was what they could see out the windows: smoke and fire and millions of pieces of burning paper and other debris falling through the air.
Blind since birth, Michael couldn’t see a thing, but he could hear the sounds of shattering glass, falling debris, and terrified people flooding around him and his guide dog, Roselle. However, Roselle sat calmly beside him. In that moment, Michael chose to trust Roselle’s judgment and not to panic. They are a team.
Thunder Dog allows you entry into the isolated, fume-filled chamber of stairwell B to experience survival through the eyes of a blind man and his beloved guide dog. Live each moment from the second a Boeing 767 hits the north tower, to the harrowing stairwell escape, to dodging death a second time as both towers fold into the earth.
It’s the 9/11 story that will forever change your spirit and your perspective. Thunder Dog illumiates Hingson’s lifelong determination to achieve parity in a sighted world, and how the rare trust between a man and his guide dog can inspire an unshakable faith in each one of us.
Over the years, there have been hundreds of stories that have come out in the wake of the events that occurred on 9/11. For me, someone who merely saw things unfold from a television screen, it’s hard to put into words what these people went through and how it affected the survivors and the families of those who were lost that day. However, I find it is stories like this book that not only give insight into that day, but it puts a face to a real person who lived through it.
But this book isn’t just about what happened on September 11, 2001. It’s also about the life of Michael Hingson and how he came to even be in that office on the 78th floor. As someone who is majoring in special education, I found his story to be inspiring and compelling because he showed that it is a person’s abilities and not that disabilities that define them. I laughed as he talked about freaking out the neighbors by riding a bicycle around his neighborhood or how he would even drive around his college campus. I admired his parents for allowing him the opportunity to become the independent and successful man he is. I especially admired their refusal to keep him from every opportunity and his tenacity to continue to better himself as well as the world for others who have visual impairments. I also felt his love for each and every single seeing eye dog he’s had. It’s clear that they were not just there to assist him, but they were his friends, his partners and his family. As he and Roselle made their way down the north tower, I admired his concern for her safety and health as well as the safety of everyone else in the stairwell with him.
The attacks that occurred on that fateful day, impacted Americans everywhere. But for those survivors who are brave enough to tell their stories, I cannot help but feel admiration for their courage. And for this book, it’s not just about a blind man who was led out of the tower on 9/11. It’s about the trust and journey of an ordinary man who has lived through an extraordinary event and had to experience it in a different way. And it’s about his life and his journey that led him to the World Trade Center.