LONG ISLAND - Twenty-one years later and the pain is still so raw.
This year's ceremony was held beside the shoreline, a cathartic place for so many who retreated to the same spot over two decades ago as they watched the smoke rising in the distance where the Twin Towers once stood.
Keynote speaker Phil Alvarez lost his brother, NYPD detective Luis Alvarez who died of 9/11 related cancer just weeks after he convinced congress to fund the victim compensation fund.
"One hour and 42 min that changed my world, changed your world and changed our world," he said.
As a way to never forget, people etched the names of loved ones on pieces of paper and placed carnations and flags next to a 30-foot-tall piece of steel and what was once a beam from the north tower of the World Trade Center.