"It was a day that I think for our generation is very much like Pearl Harbor was for our parents and grandparents," said Curt Smith, political analyst.
Spencer Scoville, of Honeoye Falls, was just starting third grade.
"There was so much confusion and fear, and even to a child that was very, very obvious," he said.
The profound loss of life pierced the nation's hear, and violated our sense of security. The impact was immediate and enduring.
"We feel their effect every time we go into an airport in America, we feel their effect every time we go to a sporting event because, of course, or a political event, really an event of any cultural kind where security is so much more pronounced than it was before 9/11," Smith said.
The attacks unified the nation against Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, but over the years sacrifices on the war front have not always been shared on the homefront, as they were after Pearl Harbor.
"People at home collected cans, collected bacon grease for artillery shells, all sorts, everybody was involved and now nobody's involved," said John Foy, World War II veteran.
As Americans enjoy their freedom, a new generation fights to defend it. Fairport's Danny Cashman served in Afghanistan from 2007-2008.
Since 9/11, there have been no terrorist attacks on American soil. This will be the first anniversary since bin Laden was killed.
"For some people it wrote an end to the chapter of 9/11, but in a factual and an accurate way it was one event, but one event only. The war continues," Smith said.
And that's the legacy of 9/11, as individuals, and as a nation, our freedom must always be cherished and protected.