Columbus Archives - StoryCorps

“You Are Your Brother’s Keeper”: A Marine Opens Up To His Son About 9/11

In August 2000, former Marine Sgt. Jason Thomas was discharged from active duty. One year later, on September 11, 2001, he was compelled to step forward as two planes crashed into the World Trade Center, just miles from where he lived. 

Jason grabbed his Marine uniform and sped to Ground Zero, where he spent almost three weeks working as a first responder looking for survivors buried under the debris. 

Jason Thomas at Ground Zero on 9/11. This is one of the images developed by the firefighter who found Jason’s camera at Ground Zero. Courtesy of Jason Thomas.

For the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Jason — now a Master Sgt. with the Air Force Reserve — came to StoryCorps with his youngest son, Jason Christian Thomas, to talk about the lasting impact that experience had on him. 

This was the first time they spoke about the details of that day.

Jason Thomas and Jason Christian Thomas in Florida, July of 2020. Courtesy of Jason Thomas.
Top Photo: Jason Thomas at Ground Zero after 9/11. Courtesy of Jason Thomas.

Originally aired Sept. 11, 2021, on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Joseph Robertson and Jonathan Fish Jr.

86-year-old Joseph Robertson served in the U.S. Army for 26 years. He was an infantryman during World War II and fought at the Battle of the Bulge, the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the United States during World War II.

At StoryCorps, Joseph (left) tells his son-in-law, Jonathan Fish Jr. (right), about killing a young German soldier, whose face remains etched into his memory.

Joseph passed away in January of 2009. He was 90 years old.

Click here to watch “Germans in the Woods,” the StoryCorps animation of Joseph’s story.

Originally broadcast November 11, 2005 on NPR’s Morning Edition.