POUND RIDGE, N.Y. -- 9/11 is more than just two numbers and a slash. It's a symbol that has been seared into the consciousness of the American people forever.
The horrific event that occurred on a spectacular end-of-summer day 12 years ago claimed more than 3,000 lives and penetrated our shield of freedom. It's a memory that's as crystal clear as the day it occurred on in 2011. "I remember the horror and where I was," said Pound Ridge resident Ann-Marie Fusco. "I was driving into Manhattan for work and my husband called me and said, 'Turn around, turn around.' Then coming home and seeing everything fall apart." Terrorists took down the twin towers of the World Trade Center with planes hijacked out of Boston. Another hijacked plane was flown into the Pentagon and a fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to re-take it from the hijackers. It rattled the core of this country and changed if forever. "It happened 12 years ago, but it seems like it was just yesterday," said Tom Sangermano. "I'm a New Yorker and it took a tremendous toll on us. I could never go to the museum at Ground Zero. It's so vivid in my mind of what happened. I couldn't survive by going through it. I'm so totally affected by it." Richard Mendes and his wife were affected by 9/11 as well. This day is their wedding anniversary. They didn't celebrate it 12 years ago out of respect to the victims, but they didn't want to let the terrorists change the way they lived their lives forever. "We said, 'We got here first and we're taking it back," said Mendes, who will celebrate his 47th anniversary with his wife today. "We took it back and we've done it ever since." The terrorists took part of our freedom that day. We could no longer travel the same way and had to deal with heightened threats to our security for quite some time. But do people really feel safer today than they did 12 years ago? "I felt very safe on 9/10," said Sangermano. "I wished we had learned from it. There really is no light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. The same problems could, unfortunately, occur tomorrow. Anything could occur at anytime." Fusco disagrees with those sentiments. "I think we're more aware as a country," she said. "Security it better. I'm not going to say it's perfect, but I thinking we're all trying. We learned that terrorism can happen on our home soil. Because of what happened, I'm trying to be more aware of what's going on in Syria and it's very scary. I'm following things a little more closely and trying to be more educated on that because of 9/11."
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