JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY - More than 100 people gathered at the Lejeune Memorial Gardens Wednesday morning to honor the lives lost during the 9/11 attacks 12 years ago.
Planes hijacked by terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, killing almost 3,000 people.
"Things were happening pretty fast that day, as you remember," said Russell Jamison, a survivor of the Pentagon attack. "First, one plane hits the north tower. Then, one plane hits the south tower, plane just hits the Pentagon. We've got others coming in."
Community members, law enforcement officers and emergency services employees attended Wednesday's ceremony at Lejeune Memorial Gardens, where volunteers held pictures of some of the victims- civilians, emergency responders and military members.
The ceremony was filled with music, prayer and song as stories of lost loved ones were shared.
"Everyone had a feeling- they remember where they were, they remember how they felt when it happened, of the concerns, the fears of what happened up there," said Marcia Wright of the Onslow County Civic Affairs Committee. "What happened that day, what was going to happen after that was a big concern."
But Jamison said he saw plenty of kindness that day- people risking their lives to save others.
"It was individual acts of courage and a lot of selfless teamwork, a lot of teamwork," Jamison said.
Wright said she hopes the younger generation will continue this memorial for years to come.
"It's a transient community because of the military," Wright said. "We want to make sure that everyone here now and generations moving forward remember and understand what happened that day and what it means to the community."
Philip Buffa was a firefighter on duty during 9/11. He shared one of his favorite quotes to live by.
"Always remember, never forget, live life worthy of their sacrifice," Buffa said. "If people can do that every day, it will change the world."