CAVE CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Cave Creek veteran helped outside Ground Zero on September 11, 2001.
Anthony Rumore said he was living on Long Island and serving in the New York National Guard at the time.
He rushed to the scene after waking up and seeing the news.
"I'll never forget the smell from the smoldering materials that were at Ground Zero or the things that we witnessed," said Rumore.
In a year when the coronavirus pandemic has reshaped countless American rituals, even the commemoration of 9/11 could not escape unchanged.
He also won't forget the faces he saw.
"Asking for help, looking for their loved ones, and there wasn't anything we could do to help," said Rumore. "We were there for security. We weren't there for public assistance, but we couldn't even let them pass the barricades."
Before this, Rumore had spent three years in the army. He had seen a lot, but nothing compared.
"Here I am, a new sergeant, a new leader in charge of a platoon in now a war zone pretty much," said Rumore.
His job was to secure the area around Ground Zero.
"I feel fortunate enough to be able to share the story, as I saw it being on scene," said Rumore.
Shortly after 9/11, Rumore moved to Arizona and deployed to Iraq.
He met his wife Amanda in Tempe. Today, they have a little girl named Mia.
"My daughter always says he's our hero, and it's true," said Amanda. "We are so proud of him."
Rumore's life looks a little different now, but his memories remain, more than a decade old, forever in his heart.
"I have not forgotten, but that's a chapter in my life I closed," said Rumore. "I needed to move past that."