In 2001, Sofia Lachapelle was a young field reporter for Univision, responsible for reporting breaking news.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, she was assigned to interview Mayor Giuliani regarding the primary elections scheduled to take place that day. After hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower at 8:46 a.m., she was quickly reassigned to the World Trade Center.
A true professional, Sofia reported on the events as they unfolded even after being trapped in the dust cloud of both towers. But it was her compulsion to help that kept her at the site. Seeing how others came to help she thought, “We have to experience the worst of humanity together.” Sofia and her Univision team would ultimately stay at Ground Zero for almost a week, eating donated food and sleeping in their news truck.
Sofia continued working for two months covering the events at Ground Zero. People would approach her for information about their loved ones, handing her pictures and providing phone numbers to call if she received any news. She felt that as a survivor, a reporter and a human being it was her responsibility to give those people hope by listening and taking their information. “I was alive, and I was supposed to help,” she said.
In 2015, Sofia contacted the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, ready to contribute to the Museum’s mission by recording an oral history detailing her experience—both on 9/11 and after. She donated the blue blazer she was wearing that day, after years of holding onto it. The blazer, covered in a fine coating of dust, shines a light on an amazing story of survival and dedication. It also highlights the important role that journalists played on that historic day.
The webinar is made possible thanks to generous support from The New York Life Foundation.
By Eduardo Quezada, Education Specialist, and Nicole Torres, Education Specialist, 9/11 Memorial Museum