We all remember what we were doing on this day 10 years ago -- the fear, the grief, the unity. Today, we also remember the nearly 3,000 people -- including 10 suburban residents -- who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and the thousands of soldiers, including more than 80 from the suburbs, killed in the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sept. 11, 2001 brought many suburban families to their knees. Now, a decade later, we spoke with some of the suburban residents directly impacted by the tragedy to see what they've learned. Their answers were slightly different, but they all agreed on one thing: Life can turn on a dime. Appreciate what you have.
John Tobin, West Dundee
Elgin firefighter John Tobin, of West Dundee, remembers the inconsolable people, the utter destruction and the sweet letters from children he received while volunteering at ground zero after the Sept. 11 attacks. Tobin went with a small group of Elgin firefighters to help with the recovery effort at the World Trade Center site. He also has refurbished two old New York Fire Department trucks as keepsakes for his firefighting "brothers" in New York.
Katie Stack, Arlington Heights
Katie Stack, of Arlington Heights, the widow of Cpl. James Stack, talks about how she keeps the memory of her husband alive, especially for their 1 1/2-year-old daughter, Mikayla. Cpl. Stack was just 20 years old when he was killed in Afghanistan last year.
Bob Stack, Arlington Heights
Bob Stack, of Arlington Heights, father of Cpl. James Stack, says his family is so grateful for the heartwarming response from the community after his 20-year-old son was killed during his deployment in Afghanistan last year. Stack said he's learned to appreciate the sacrifice military personnel make for our freedom. "I didn't fully appreciate that until my own son chose to serve," he said.
Marion Kminek, Inverness and West Dundee
Marion Kminek, a former Inverness and West Dundee resident, says she's learned a lot since her 35-year-old daughter, Mari-Rae Sopper, died on Sept. 11. Sopper was on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, while on her way to start her dream job in California as a college girls gymnastics coach. She also speaks of the beautiful memorial to the victims now in front of the Pentagon memorial in DC.
Jim Mulvihill, Elgin
Elgin firefighter Jim Mulvihill says the scenes he witnessed while volunteering with the recovery effort at ground zero after Sept. 11 will be permanently etched in his memory. He also speaks about the unity among Americans back then, and how, sadly, it's since faded away.
John Fahy, Elgin
Elgin Fire Chief John Fahy recalls the story of where he was on Sept. 11, 2001, and the emotions he felt when he showed up at ground zero to volunteer. He says Sept. 11 changed the way he leaves the house each morning, and reminded him that there's always the chance he might not come home, like the 343 New York firefighters.
Ken and Patty Boyd, Palatine
CJ Boyd was only 13 when the terrorist attacks occurred, but they were what drove the three-sport athlete from Palatine High School to enlist in the Marines. CJ, the only child of Ken and Patty Boyd, was killed in Afghanistan last year, leaving behind a wife and twin toddler boys. In this video, Ken and Patty Boyd speak of the frustration they feel with the media's coverage of the war, and their passion to support veterans charities.
Razia Khan, Hoffman Estates
Razia Khan, of Hoffman Estates, talks about how the treatment of Muslims over time has gotten worse since 9/11. In 2010, she was attacked while walking on Devon Avenue in Chicago and a woman purposely pulled her scarf off. She since feels like she needs to communicate more with people around her about who Muslims are and why she wears a scarf.
Vadim Lovinsky, Vernon Hills
Vadim Lovinsky, of Vernon Hills, was on the 61st floor of the World Trade Center's south tower with his coworkers at Morgan Stanley when the first plane struck the north tower. He talks about his hasty exit, and what his life has been like since that day.
Noor Khan, Naperville
Naperville school teacher Noor Khan says reactions toward Muslims soon after the Sept. 11 attacks were far more positive than they are today. She said the media is partly to blame for painting Muslims as "the other" and by reaching out misconceptions against her community can be overcome.