A 30-foot-long piece of World Trade Center steel served as a link to the lost at a special 9/11 service at Point Lookout beach on Long Island.
The ceremony drew more than 1,000 people to the same beach where stunned Long Islanders gathered 10 years ago to watch in disbelief as the twin towers burned in the distance.
"I just don't want people to forget," said Maurice Mayes, a Levittown firefighter who carried a photo of FDNY Lt. Ronald Kirwin, who died in the attack.
First responders who couldn't attend the ceremony at ground zero because of space limitations took part in this commemoration, led by the town of Hempstead.
Three days after the twin towers fell, retired FDNY
firefighter Bob Beckwith stood alongside then-President George W. Bush at ground zero in a scene that came to symbolize the resilience of the city and the nation.
Using a megaphone, Bush vowed that those who destroyed the towers "would soon hear from us all."
"I'm no one special," the modest Beckwith said 10 years later. "I was just in the right place at the right time."
An aluminum replica of the twin towers was another focal point of the Point Lookout ceremony.
The words "Never Forget" were drawn in sand around it and family and friends of the victims planted American flags there with messages of love for the lost.
"The last time I was with my brother, it was on this beach," said Pat Grinberg, who lost brother Robert Sliwak on 9/11.
Like many, she made a conscious decision to avoid the ground zero remembrance for the tranquility of the beach.
"You're surrounded by people who love and care, and are moving forward and aren't forgetting," she said.