If you're one of the lucky ones, you can observe September 11th from a distance with no personal ties to the list of heroes and victims, but to Col. Don Aries, this day brings him back to the last conversation he ever had with his younger brother.
Don said, "He was on the phone with his wife when I called him, and he hung up with her. Then we talked for two minutes. He said, listen man, I gotta go. My last words to him were ‘go home.’ I said that as we were hanging up, and I don't know if he ever heard me."
Adam may or may not have heard him, but regardless, he didn't go home. Minutes later, from his 84th floor in the second twin tower, Adam was caught in ashes and rubble as the building came crashing down.
"I could hear in the background his colleagues were lined up at the windows. You could just hear the all too human responses people had to seeing fellow human beings fall to their deaths."
Tragically Adam died that day, but eyewitness accounts and the location of his remains prove he stayed in the tower helping others escape.
"In many ways it's gotten harder. The first couple years you're almost stunned that you're not going to see this person again. However, it's gotten easier in my mind that we're better protected now than were at 9/11."
A part of every American changed that day, but for Col. Aires, his little brother will always remain a hero.