Tom Canavan

  • Survivor
  • Captioned

Securities specialist working in the North Tower on 9/11 who survived the collapse of the Twin Towers

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Education_Clips-Tom Canavan

This story was filmed as part of our Anniversary in the Schools program, which introduces students to first-person accounts of the 9/11 attacks. Participate in this year’s free program by completing this registration form

Teaching Guides

Find tailored questions below for teaching this story.

As you listen to Tom’s story, think about the following questions:

  • Tom mentions that seeing the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) arrive at the World Trade Center that morning made him feel confident and safe. Who or what helps you feel safe when you are afraid or scared?
  • What did Tom do to help others as he escaped from the World Trade Center?
  • Resilience is the ability to heal and recover after a difficult situation. How does Tom’s story show resilience?

As you listen to Tom’s story, think about the following questions:

  • What actions did Tom take to help others as he escaped the World Trade Center?
  • Tom compares his experience on 9/11 to the story of The Last Column, a column from inside the South Tower that survived the collapse of the building. How do both of these stories show resilience?

As you listen to Tom’s story, consider the following questions: 

  • Describe the challenges Tom faced as he survived the collapse of the Twin Towers.
  • Tom compares his experience on 9/11 to the story of The Last Column, an artifact which stands as a symbol of resilience. What are the ways that Tom’s story embodies resilience?
  • Tom says that 9/11 “changed my life forever and indeed the whole world forever.” What are some of the ways the world has changed as a result of 9/11? How do these repercussions still affect people including younger generations, today?

Additional Resources

Tom was among many survivors of the 9/11 attacks that would later donate personal objects to the Museum’s collection. Visit Inside the Collection to see his object and others to learn more about survivors of the attacks. If you’re interested in more survivor stories, visit our Webinar Stories archive.