Time has been a type of salve for Sept. 11, 2001, witness Raymond Micaletti.
The 1990 Shenango High School graduate had just taken a job at a small asset management firm in New York City, and lived and worked a short distance from the World Trade Center. When the attacks occurred, Micaletti was working on the 28th floor of a building about five blocks from the towers. After the first plane struck, he moved to another office where he had an unobstructed view of the fire from the first tower. As he was speaking to his mother, a former Shenango High teacher, the second tower collapsed.
At that time, he described to The News that he thought it was an accident and when he returned to his office, he heard a large boom and lights flickered. Micaletti was one of several Lawrence County natives working in New York City whose first-hand accounts were written about in the Sept. 12, 2001, edition of the New Castle News.
“The area was pitch black and dust covered everything,” he said in 2001. “There were hordes of people in lower Manhattan like refugees heading away from the fallen towers.”
Now 49, the son of Audrey and Raymond Micaletti of Shenango Township, says that day virtually never crosses his mind anymore.
“When it does, say around the anniversary each year, I usually envision the television images that we’ve all seen rather than my own experience,” he said.
But for many years, Micaletti said he thought about 9/11 frequently but not from his own perspective.
“Instead, I would try to comprehend the horror that those trapped in the upper stories must have experienced,” he described. “It haunted me that some people felt jumping from the building was preferable to whatever else they were facing.”
While time has helped him heal from the harsh realities he saw, he believes 9/11 had an impact on his life, “on my perspective on the world and its (often ugly) realities as well as on the direction of my life, but not any big impact on who I am as a person.”
Shortly after, Micaletti left that job and started working on some entrepreneurial endeavors that led him to different opportunities, which subsequently shaped his life, both professionally and personally. He ultimately wound up in Philadelphia, where he met his wife, Kripa Sundararajan. The couple have a son, 1-year-old Milan.
Physically moving away also played a significant role in how he views what happened. Micaletti said he has worked for companies where nobody was from New York and the topic never came up.
“So, my previous life is pretty much a distant, hazy memory at this point.”
Once he moved outside of New York City, he noted that he eventually stopped thinking about the day altogether, probably “because it was so depressing that my brain just repressed it.”
Micaletti said that part of those emotions might be due to the fact that his life, both personal and professional, is completely different from the 2000s.
Right now, he works for a financial technology firm developing a mobile app that makes it easy for people who are unfamiliar with investing or who don’t have lots of disposable income to invest like the pros — easily and inexpensively. and he is working on launching an exchange-traded fund that tracks a quantitative investment strategy he developed several years ago while employed by a firm, Columbus Macro. The founder of that company is Craig Columbus, a New Castle native and current resident.
“Now, I don’t even feel like I was there that day,” Micaletti said. “I feel as though I observed the event like the rest of America — from a distance. As I mentioned earlier, when it crosses my mind, I see television images rather than my own recollections.”