Andy Wahlstrom struggles with his emotions each year as he teaches his U.S. history students at Davis High School about the terrorist attacks that took almost 3,000 lives on Sept. 11, including his grandmother and aunt.
Mary Alice Wahlstrom, and her daughter, Carolyn Beug, were killed when American Airlines Flight 11 flew into the World Trade Center at 8:47 a.m. Sept. 11, 2001.
Even though 10 years have passed, Andy warns his students he has to have tissues close by as they discuss the terrorist attacks, which are part of the curriculum.
When he first started teaching, Andy said he didn't like sharing his personal story "because I get way too emotional."
But some students make the connection and ask him about it. So he tells his story, which is still hard to do.
It includes him at the age of 22 in a Brighsm Young University study program in Nauvoo, Ill., away from his family and unable to come home.
Then his students, who were only 7 years old when the attacks happened, read about the events in the textbooks and look at the pictures, "it becomes more real to them. It's not just pictures of buildings in New York, but it becomes alive and real," Andy said.
Keeping the memory of his grandmother, Mary Alice, is important, not only to him, but his parents, siblings and other family members.
His mother, Margaret Wahlstrom, of Fruit Heights, has been working for the past 10 years on constructing a memorial at the Utah State University Botanical Gardens.
She, along with the Davis County Youth of Promise, a nonprofit group of teenage volunteers, has tried to raise funds to build the memorial.
The words, "Honor," "Remembrance," and "Hope," will be engraved on the oval wall with benches for those who come to sit and reflect.
For Andy and his siblings, the memorial will mean more than just a place to remember their grandmother and aunt. It will a place to remember all who have sacrificed for their country.
"To me, it will be a symbol of what we stand for and that we're not defined by the event, but who we are," said Nate Wahlstrom, 34.
Andy lives close to the botanical gardens.
"My grandma's and aunt's final resting place is Ground Zero and I just can't go to New York on a whim," Andy said.
"But to have it there by the ponds so I can reflect not just on them, but to mediate and remember all those who died for us would be wonderful."
Andy said the events of that day reinforced his sense of family, a sentiment echoed by his siblings.
His sister, Meredith Wright, said that day "was the most defining time of my life."
Only 15 years old in 2001, Meredith realized then how fragile life was and "that family and God are what matters."
Her younger sister, Mallory Wright, 22, said when "hard things or bad things happen, you find yourself closer to God. It will either make you stronger or you'll self-destruct."
"We still feel the loss," Margaret Wahlstrom said. "Mary Alice used to run up to the house almost every day with a fresh-baked batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies."
Following the tragedy, the family received so much from others, even people they did not know, they have tried as a family to give back. All have found ways to donate their time in humanitarian work, locally and in other countries to make the world better.
Making the world a better place is why Brady Howell went to work with Naval Intelligence at the Pentagon, said his brother, Regan Howell, formerly of Centerville.
Brady Howell, who was 26 in 2001, was among the 128 people who died when American Airlines Flight 77 with 84 people on board crashed into the Pentagon.
Regan, who now lives in Texas, said his younger brother's service is an example to his five children.
Regan said he worked with Margaret Wahlstrom on the memorial when he lived in Utah and to see it completed, "would be terrific."
The memorial is not about honoring just his brother, Regan said, but also those who served with Brady and all the people who were affected by Sept. 11. Regan said his family does not need a memorial to remember his brother. Four of his children were very young when it happened, but "it has had an impact on them. It has given them a really deep connection with this day."
His youngest child, who is a fifth-grader, was not born at the time, but also feels a connection.
As Sept. 11 comes around each year, Regan has talked to his children, two of whom are in high school and the other two are in college, about what they will see and hear from the media and in the classroom.
"I tell them it's OK to have your own connection and, if they want, they can speak up," Regan said.
His sister, Camille Howell Mortensen of Ogden, spent Friday remembering Brady by reading to students who were not even born when he died. At Taylor Canyon Elementary she read books donated by United Way of Northern Utah in memory of her brother.
"That day changed everyone's life," Camille said. "Everything is different today."
She, too, values her family more than she did then, especially her relationship with her siblings.
"I don't want to have any regrets, just good memories," Camille said.
Camille said when she thinks of her younger brother, she likes to remember when he no longer was just "my little brother, but my friend." That happened when she was a senior in high school and he a freshman. They ended up working at the same job and hanging with the same friends.
"I saw a totally different side of him," Camille said. "He was a crack-up. He was so fun to be with."
Regan and Camille both said they worry that as the years go by, the average person will not remember what happened and will just think of Sept. 11 as another day for sales or a day to do yardwork.
They hope instead that people will remember the acts of kindness and love that happened after the attacks.
"There were so many examples of bravery, kindness and generosity then," Regan said.