MOUNT PLEASANT - Tears welled in the eyes of Catherine Reinhart when she recalled the September 11 terrorist attacks following a ceremony at Patriot's Point on Saturday.
Reinhart, whose father served in World War II and her nephew in Iraq, was working at a hospital on Hilton Head Island at the time and said the distant but horrific memories are still "embedded in my mind."
"I always thought we were untouchable as a country," Reinhart said. "It really changed our lives."
So it was of utmost importance for her to make sure her son, Alec, who was 2 at the time of the attacks, attend the remembrance ceremony with his Boy Scout Troop 505 and about 300 other scouts, parents, veterans and others on Saturday.
The ceremony, which was one of several events held around the Charleston area on Saturday, started with a ringing of a bell at 8:46 a.m., the time when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. That was followed by a talk by Capt. Thomas Bailey, commanding officer of the Navy Nuclear Power Training Command at the Charleston Naval Weapons Station.
Bailey said it was fitting that the ceremony was held on the Yorktown, an aircraft carrier with a name forever tied to the horror of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Like Sept. 11, the date changed American lives instantaneously.
On that day in 2001, Bailey was serving in Hawaii and was awakened in the middle of the night. He left his family to be on the submarine Charlotte that he was commanding.
"I couldn't help but wonder what happened and what it would mean to this country ... Political commentator James Carville said it best when he told a reporter shortly after the attack that 'The world changed today. Everything is going to be different tomorrow.' He was right."
Bailey urged people to use Sept. 11 every year to remember and rededicate their lives to four key commitments: faith, national pride, family and ethics.
"I encourage you to share your story (of Sept 11) with others and to listen to their stories. If not, we run the risk of forgetting how our lives have changed," Bailey said.
Troop 505 den leader Tom McGreevy had to be nudged a little bit by parents to tell his story after the ceremony.
"I actually got back in (the Navy) because of 9/11. It pissed me off so much," said McGreevy, whose first stint in the Navy was six years. "I was honorably discharged and living my life. When those planes hit the wall, something inside kept telling me my job's not done yet."
At the age of 37, McGreevy took a job as a Naval engineering duty officer and continued working at BP as a project engineer. He continues to serve the Navy.
"Sept. 11 totally changed my life," he said.