COLORADO SPRINGS — Many Americans remember the moment they learned of the September 11th attacks. For the nearly three thousand families who lost loved ones that day, it's become a challenging day of remembrance.
"It was surreal, I was sad but I was more angry," Mary Strada, a Colorado Springs woman who lost her cousin in the attacks said, "I felt like we weren't safe in our country."
Strada was living in Colorado Springs, but when the attacks happened was in Seattle for her father-in-law's funeral. Her flight out was scheduled to leave on September 11th.
"My mother-in-law woke me up and said you can't go home, all the flights have been canceled," Strada said.
As someone who grew up in New York, she had a couple of family members working at the World Trade Center. She would learn her cousin Tom was one of the thousands of victims.
Mary says Tom's son had been born just four days before, Strada said he was planning on working a half day that day.
Strada ended up driving back home to Colorado, she describes the moments on the road as eerie and quiet.
"It was surreal, I was sad but I was more angry," Strada said, "as much as we strove to be patriotic and we certainly were, I felt angry that we couldn't protect our people," Strada said.
As part of remembering the pain and grief, she wears a ribbon every year her family created for her cousin's funeral.
"I keep it in my box, it's the only day I wear I take it out and just wear it," Strada said, "some people ignore it some people will ask what it is."
With Saturday marking 20 years since the tragedy that hit our nation, Strada hopes people will continue to understand and grasp the impacts of what happened that day.
"It's easy to say we'll never forget, but when you're entrenched in it, you'll never forget and I guess my hope for our country is to never forget," Strada said.