Many in the islands and around the world watched from afar the horror of events 11 years ago, while a Hawaii paramedic witnessed first-hand the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and the aftermath, from his job in New York.
For the past 26 years, Chico Caballero has been responding to emergencies.
"I feel I have a good day when I make a difference," said Caballero.
But not all days have been good, especially the very dark day of September 11, 2001. On that day, Caballero was in charge of paramedics and based at a New York Hospital.
Paramedics were among those who rushed in, along with firefighters and police officers, when the World Trade Center Towers were hit by two passenger jets hijacked by terrorists.
Many paramedics brought in hundreds of victims from ground zero to the hospital, but some never made it back. Only their final terror-filled moments were able to reach the hospital's emergency communications system.
"From time to time, we'd get calls from people for police backup, fire backup. But hearing people scream for their lives was something so blood-curdling. The more I think about it, the more it gives me chicken skin now," said Caballero.
After 9/11 Caballero said everything changed. There was stepped-up security, and plenty of scares in the months that followed.
But the attacks also made many first responders realize living their lives to the fullest was just as critical as saving lives.
"Spending time with family and friends became very important," said Caballero.