Editor’s Note: This story was written by Jose Ramirez, distribution center manager in the Bronx, New York. On September 11, 2001, he was the supervisor of the driver of the infamous Coca-Cola truck shown under the rubble of the towers. Excerpts also are included here from Coca-Cola Delivery Driver Moises Romero, who made the first delivery back to the World Trade Center in early December.

Like most Americans, I will never forget where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news about the first building collapse on Sept. 11, 2001. It was a very normal day, but as everyone knows, we were clueless as to how our lives were about to change. At the time, I was the full-service supervisor for the driver of the infamous Coca-Cola truck among the debris after the buildings collapsed.

Coca-Cola driver Thomas Encarnacion and merchandiser Terrence McQueen (who now is a Coca-Cola driver) were scheduled to deliver on that route on 9-11. In 2001, we were making deliveries to the World Trade Center buildings daily because of the amount of business we had there.

After we learned about the incident, our distribution management team immediately started making phone calls and sending messages to employees' beepers to find everyone. This was almost impossible because most everyone’s phones or beepers were not working. Many of our employees walked from Wall Street all the way to the Bronx. All day, supervisors continued calling employees and coordinating with drivers (who they could reach) to ask that they pick up sales and merchandiser associates and bring them back to our Distribution Center. Encarnacion and McQueen were the last two employees to arrive at the distribution center that night. Thankfully, all of our employees were accounted for that day.

On Sept. 12, Brendan Walshe, sales center manager for the Bronx, and Tom Sagliano, operations manager, organized four full side-load trucks of DASANI 20-oz. bottles to be delivered to Ground Zero. I took part in this effort. For me, it was an honor to drive the first truck of four escorted by the New York Police Department (NYPD). Our trucks were driven by managers and employees.  It didn’t matter your rank or role; as Coca-Cola employees, we all were just doing the right thing at the right time.

As I drove downtown, I couldn’t help but think about how this incident changed everything for Americans. It seemed like the drive took forever, but it actually was the fastest drive any vehicle from our facility had ever made. We filled an entire city block with Dasani. I remember thinking how proud I felt to work for this company on that day. We all stood side-by-side, doing everything possible to bring water relief to the area. It all seems so long ago, but for me it feels like it was just days ago.

In early-December, we made our first delivery back to the World Trade Center. Moises Romero, from our team, was the Coca-Cola delivery driver. "Being the first driver and being able to make the first delivery back at the World Trade Center brought back a lot of memories for me," he said. "I’m proud to have been the first one back, but more proud of our ability as a company to make this happen.”

After seeing Coca-Cola return and make our first delivery to the new World Trade Center, I feel a sense of closure. It may have been a long wait for the buildings to re-open, but it was a very proud moment for every New Yorker, American and, me, as a Coca-Cola employee.