HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - An attack on American soil, 2,996 people killed. Fifteen years later, the images remain burned in the country's memory.
"We were watching the television when we saw the second plane strike the tower. It was just very heartbreaking to see it happen, and my heart just went out to the families and the victims," said Maj. Marnee Losurdo, 403rd Wing Public Affairs Chief.
Losurdo was a civilian contractor in 2001. She says pride in her country is why she serves.
The attacks on the World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and also the plane that crashed into a field in Shanksville Pa., brought the country together. The events also led thousands to military service.
"You know, because of those attacks, there were squadrons, just like ours, the 803rd standing up today, that were called to combat. They went without question. That fight continues today, said Maj. Brian Horton, 803rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Commander.
More than 5,000 service members have died in action since September 11, 2001.
Along with those who answered the call to action in the military, first responders also stepped up to help in anyway possible. From sending supplies, to showing up to help dig through rubble, thousands more answered that call.
Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania was in attendance Sunday at the Harrison County Fairgrounds, for a special 9/11 ceremony. He discussed the importance of remembering what we lost that day, and in the days and years following.
"I hope everybody uses it as a time to just stop, and remember those who died during 9/11, and those who died for this country. We all have a duty to be great patriots and hold this country together, or we can expect bad things," Papania said.
Others say they see a tremendous amount of national pride as people gather to remember the devastating attacks.
"It just shows a great sense of pride in ourselves, that after what happened back in 2001, that we can come together as a nation, to prove that we are still strong, and that we are not going to fall under anyone else. And we're going to do our best country that ever was or ever will be," said Lizana Firefighter Gary Gilliland.