The 14th anniversary of the September 11 attacks saw plenty of incredible stories from events that day resurface online but the tale of AS Roma fan Anthony Zomparelli is a little different.
A self-confessed Giallorossi supporter since childhood, Zomparelli parents moved from Italy to the US in the 1970s, bringing their passion for the Rome club with them.
Zomparelli was lucky enough to grow up watching a Roma side in their pomp too, winning the Scudetto in 1983 and going on to reach the 1984 European Cup final a year later.
The following 18 years would be largely barren for the Serie A side, though, watching on TV from across the Atlantic, Zomparelli was still lucky enough to see a precocious 16-year-old by the name of Francesco Totti emerge as a club icon.
By the year 2000, however, things were starting to look up for the Giallorossi.
With Fabio Capello as manager and with the likes of Gabriel Batistuta and Vincenzo Montellia in tow, Roma pipped Juventus to the title on the final day of the 2000/01 season.
A Scudetto victory also meant one thing by the next campaign rolled around: Champions League football and it is here that Zomparelli takes up his truly remarkable story as per asromainenglish.com:
“I was an accounting consultant for Marsh & McLennan for over 13 years, which was located in the World Trade Center. I worked on the 100th floor of Tower One. On the morning of September 11, 2001, I called my office and said I would not be able to attend work due to an illness. However, the truth was that I was not sick at all.
“I wanted to be home to watch the Roma – Real Madrid UEFA Champions League game on television. This was a truly monumental game to me for many reasons: 1) it was Roma’s first appearance in this new Champions League format, 2) Roma were “i campioni d’Italia”, 3) Roma were facing the storied team of Real Madrid in Stadio Olimpico, and most importantly 4) the game was to be televised live on ESPN, which is truly special because Roma are never on U.S. television stations.”
“Unfortunately, what was to be a great day for me turned out to be a complete nightmare. We all know what happened in New York City that day, so there is no need to repeat the details.
“On September 11th, my company lost 291 employees, 10 of which were very good friends of mine. These people were not just my colleagues, they were a second family to me and no matter where I go in this life, they will always be in my heart. I am eternally grateful that I did not attend work that day. And I will forever be grateful to God and AS Roma for being the reasons I am still alive and well.”
Still an avid Roma fan living and working in Manhattan, just across from the new World Trade Center Buildings, if Zomparelli has learned one lesson from his experience it’s to “live life to the fullest.”
“Live as though there is no tomorrow, live life without regret.”
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.