Steve Buscemi opened up about the post-traumatic stress disorder he experienced from volunteering with the New York Fire Department during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In case you didn’t know, the 63-year-old was a member of Engine Company No. 55 in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood between 1980 to 1984 before becoming a world-renowned actor. And when planes crashed into the World Trade Center in 2001, Buscemi joined his old firehouse and first responders in helping to search for survivors at Ground Zero. He recalled that time during an episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast on Thursday:
“I still had my turnout coat and my helmet, and I just grabbed those things. I was driven into the site that day. Walked around for hours and then found my company, found Engine 55 working there, and asked them if I could join them. I could tell they were a little suspicious at first, like, ‘What are you doing here?’ But I worked with them that day.”
And the Boardwalk Empire star continued to work with the company for several days afterward. In an op-ed for Time magazine published on the same day, he further detailed the “disturbing” scene at Ground Zero, sharing:
“ found a place on a bucket brigade. Instead of water going up, it was rubble coming down. Once in a while a body bag was passed, though none weighed much at all. That was disturbing. The dust? It was more of a nuisance: pulverized concrete and who-knows-what that clogged a face mask, so fast you worked better without one. Somebody’d say, ‘This is probably going to kill us in 20 years.’”
Although Buscemi has not experienced long-term health issues like many survivors and first responders, he told Maron that the tragic day had greatly impacted his mental health:
“I haven’t experienced any health issues, and I get myself checked out — but definitely, post-traumatic stress, absolutely. I was only there for like, five days. But when I stopped going and sort of tried to just live my life again, it was really, really hard. I was depressed. I was anxious. I couldn’t make a simple decision. It’s still with me. It’s still, you know, like there are times when I talk about 9/11 and I feel myself and I’m just right back there. I just, I start to get choked up and I realize, ‘Ah, this is still a big part of me.’”
We are keeping the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives on that tragic day in our thoughts.
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