TEMPE, Ariz. -- On the 11th anniversary of 9/11, hundreds gathered in Tempe to remember the lives lost - and those unforgettable moments - that forever changed America.
Nearly three thousand flags lined Tempe Beach Park at what's become known as the Healing Field. Each, with a placard with the victim's name as a reminder of just how many lives were lost.
"I woke up happy because it's been 11 years and Bobby lived such a full life and... he's being remembered for what he had done," said Melanie Couto, who as a 4th grader living in New York, learned that her cousin, Robert T. Lane, 28, died as one of the first firefighters responding to the emergency calls.
Couto's cousin was found just steps from the North Tower.
Orlando Huicochea remembers exactly where he was, a sophomore in high school preparing to head to ROTC.
"Turned on the TV right away, when I turned it on the second plane had already crashed," said Huicochea, who has been a mechanic with the Army National Guard for the last nine years. He's also served one tour in Iraq.
"Anger came upon, just like everybody..." said Huicochea. "It was my way of giving back," he says of enlisting in the military.
For Huicochea, along with many others at the Field - 9/11 changed the course of their lives... and while the victims of that day are now only remembered in spirit, heroes like Huicochea, and countless other servicemen and women, police officers and firefighters... can be remembered here and now .
"My cousin that day did not expect to go into that day being a hero. He expected to be a normal firefighter. And I'd just like to thank the people who do sign up to be heroes, who do sign up to be little children's idols and role models," said Couto.