September 11, 2006 at 9:29 PM EST - Updated July 26 at 2:30 PM
WILMINGTON -- While interviewing Wilmington residents on the street, our news team came across Cathy Colby, a former New Yorker whose sister narrowly avoided the attacks on her way to work at the twin towers.
"We didn't know she was running late. We didn't know until 11 o'clock that night," Colby recalled. "The anxiety I felt was the highest level of anxiety I've ever felt in my entire life."
Five years later, her anxiety came down. But Colby knew that it could have turned out very differently.
"My sister could have been snuffed out in an instant," said Colby. "Now to this day, I don't take anything for granted. I tell people I love them every time I talk to them."
While Colby's sister ran some 200 blocks to safety, marines at Cape Lejeune were heading to Ground Zero.
"You could see the smoke," Lt. Col. Chris Lovejoy remembered.
Lovejoy flew President Bush into the damage. The image and the smell had stuck with him ever since.
"The smell was so thick. It was full of ash and soot. You could just smell that there had been a very bad fire."
Now on the fifth anniversary, Lovejoy could finally see the positive that rose from the rubble.
"We are all Americans, and I think it really brought us together," said Lovejoy. "In the end we're all on the same side, and we'll come together when we need to."