LELAND -- On the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, a Leland Police Officer is remembering what he saw at Ground Zero.
"That was a very familiar scene all around the World Trade Center... everyone was very patriotic and proud to be serving at that time," says Corporal Robert Ernest.
Ernest was serving with the New York Police Department's 44th Precinct in the Bronx in 2001. On September 11, 2001, he was on election duty at an elementary school when his routine assignment gave way to a rescue mission.
"It was chaos right away," Ernest says. And he was thrown into the midst of it.
At Ground Zero Ernest saw pure devastation, "It was just a dead calm, like a snowfall in winter. You really couldn't hear much or see much either."
But ironically alongside the devastation, Ernest says he saw signs of encouragement and patriotism. Ernest says the unity in New York City and across the country in the days following the terrorist attacks makes him proud to serve his community every day.
"It's a sense of pride, a sense of wanting to help your fellow man."
September 11th created a new sense of reality that has changed America forever.