HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A now retired Horry County police officer who saw firsthand the horrors of Sept. 11, 2001, is making sure young people who weren’t alive at the time never forget the day that changed the U.S. forever.

Felix Cruz, a member of the New York Police Department when the attack happened 22 years ago, is sharing his experiences Monday with Horry County students at St. James Middle School. He said he wants to let them know what it was like that day when nearly 3,000 people died when hijacked airliners crashed into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

“It was a day that I’ll never forget because it wasn’t just that day,” Cruz said. “It was weeks and months. It was something that took a toll on every single one of us.”

Cruz has a lot of memories from that day, along with items that he has kept over the 22 years. One of them is his NYPD roll call notebook, which breaks down everything the officers did each day.

One page from 9/11 details the exact moment that Cruz found out New York City was under attack. His routine duties were put on hold, and he was sent to Manhattan.

“It’s very important that they’re looking through my eyes of what I was going through, and it’s very important that they understand our history and making sure that history never repeats itself,” Cruz said, explaining why he continues to tell his story to students. 

News13 will have coverage of Cruz’s presentations to students during our afternoon and evening newscasts.

Taylor Maresca is the weekend morning anchor and morning reporter at News13. She joined the team in June 2022 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Taylor is from Houston. Follow Taylor on X, formerly Twitter, and read more of her work here.