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15 years later, 9/11 survivors share stories of adversity and strength

/ Source: TODAY

Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, and TODAY is remembering the day — and the time since — with some of the people who lived through it.

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From students to firefighters, to individuals working at the World Trade Center that day, those who will "never forget" shared stories of strength and adversity, detailing the challenges they've overcome — as well as the their hopes for the future.

"My message to people is: 'We will all be touched by adversity, or wounded at some point in our lives, but we can refuse to be held by it.' And I think that's why I survived," explained Lauren Manning, who was in the North Tower at 8:46 a.m. when the first plane hit.

Lauren Manning.TODAY

"Whatever it is, you just can't give up. Because there's always hope for a new beginning, if we work for it," explained Helaina Hovitz, who was in middle school a few blocks away from the World Trade Center.

Helaina Hovitz.TODAY

Editor's note: A special thanks to everyone who shared their story. You can find excerpts from books written by Hovitz and Manning here.