LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — An FBI special agent now-based in Las Vegas who was in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, buried his father that Tuesday morning, only to rush to Ground Zero to then investigate the nation’s largest crime scene.
Christopher LaManna grew up on Long Island and joined the FBI in 1999. In 2000 at 29 years old, he started working at the bureau’s New York City division.
“I’ve been to the World Trade Center. I’ve been inside the World Trade Center,” LaManna said. “It’s very personal to me, because I’ve walked on the streets around where the World Trade Center. I have memories there.”
“The sky was crystal blue. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky,” LaManna said about that Tuesday. “It seemed like the bluest sky I’ve ever seen.”
LaManna’s father died Sept. 9, 2001, he said, after a battle with lung cancer. Sept. 11 was the day of his funeral.
“Some of my relatives had indicated that they had heard a plane had struck the World Trade Center,” LaManna said. “At the funeral parlor, I had noticed a bunch of FBI agents, but when we got to the church, they were all gone.”
Due to the ongoing incident, the cemetery where LaManna’s father’s body was to be buried closed. There was no graveside service.
As America was under attack, LaManna left his family and drove to work.
“I remember getting home, changing out of my suit and putting on other clothes that were a little more comfortable,” he said. “I didn’t know what I was going to be doing. I had to go down there, because I knew there were people down there — people that I knew.”
One of those people was his co-worker Beth. She happened to be near one of the towers when it collapsed.
“The debris, the darkness enveloped them so quickly,” LaManna said. “She said she could barely breathe. She saw a glint of an NYPD officer’s shield and she grabbed his arm, and they worked their way out of the area. She was covered from head to toe.”
She escaped and in 2006, Beth became Beth LaManna.
Twenty years later, Sept. 11 is a still time for him to remember the moments of his life all connected to that day.
“I think about my dad every year on 9/11,” LaManna said. “There’s a time to mourn, but that was a time for service. And I know my dad would have felt the same way.”