Every year on September 11, members of the Grapevine community gather at the city's 9/11 memorial to reflect on the attacks that forever changed our nation and to pay tribute to the heroes of that day.
And every year, you'll find Stephen Humensky standing there in the crowd.
"It gives me a place to connect with my brothers and my sisters," Humensky said.
He's lived in North Texas for eight years now. But prior to that, he spent nearly three decades working as a firefighter in New York City. He still remembers pulling up to ground zero for the first time, as though it were yesterday.
"Unless you yourself were there, it is impossible to explain the destruction -- both in its size and in the reality of the lives lost," said Humensky.
And as the years continue to go by, pushing us further from the realities of that day, it's his solemn hope that those who perished -- and the sacrifices so many of them made -- are never forgotten.
"It's important that we keep talking about it and educating people," said Humensky.
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It's why he was deeply touched when he looked out into the crowd Wednesday and saw the faces of about a dozen cub scouts from Coppell starting back at him.
"My scouts are gonna learn a lot more [about 9/11] from being here for an hour than they would from reading about it in a history book," said Dan Koller, pack leader for Cub Scout Pack 857. "It's important for them to learn that there's more than what's just going on in their daily lives. There's a bigger world out there than whatever their daily concerns are."
None of the kids were alive when 9/11 happened. Most of them had no idea what occurred at the Pentagon or the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
But the words and stories they heard Wednesday appear to have gotten through to them.
After the ceremony was over, they walked over to some of the firefighters who were there, and helped them lower the large flag that hung over the memorial -- their way of expressing their appreciation for first responders.
"It makes me feel very proud to know that these remembrances and these traditions are going to be carried on to the next generation," Humensky said.