NEW YORK CITY - New Yorkers say 9/11 is still with them every single day. Monday’s ceremony is meant to remember not only those who were killed but those still suffering for trying to save them.
The memories vary.
"I remember the unbelievably gorgeous blue sky thinking that nothing could go wrong today," said Anthoula Katsimatides, who lost her brother on 9/11.
And 22 years later, they’re all still vivid.
"What I remember most is the smell," said Rick Scanlon, a 9/11 volunteer.
"It was like a movie set," said Bridget Gormley, who lost her father to 9/11 illnesses. "He thought it was the apocalypse. He said you could reach out and grab the air."
Memories of what happened on 9/11 still sting. The magnitude of lives lost still shocks. And every year families of the victims gather to remember.
"To live with the sense 22 years that he never came home, and he would never be recovered," said Katsimatides. "He was one of 40% of all 9/11 victims that were never recovered by the medical examiner's office. That is a huge thing to live with and I miss him. I miss him a lot."
Throughout the 9/11 ceremony are six moments of silence, when everyone including onlookers, stops to bow their heads, remembering the first plane, then the second, the towers collapsing, the attack on the Pentagon, and Flight 93 crashing.
The difference now, more than two decades, later, is the 341 firefighters who have died from 9/11-caused illnesses, nearly as many who died on the day of the attacks.
"That dust was so fine, it just sat in your skin and went right through, just absorbed right through," said Gormley. "And the number is only going to grow. It’s not going to go down."
It’s why after so many years, thousands of people are willing to stand for hours in the rain, listening to the names remembering and reflecting on how the worst terrorist attack on u.s. so should still continues to haunt them to this very day.
"People say never forget all the time, and it has a tendency to sound cliché," Gormley said. "But in this case with 9/11, it’s not because people are dying every single day."
The families of the victims ask for one thing: For you to take time out of your busy schedule and come down to the memorial, visit the museum and make sure the younger generations never forget what was done to this country 22 years ago.