It was Kevin Danni's second day training at Morgan Stanley, on the 55th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center when the second plane hit 20 floors above him.
The South Pasadena native had just graduated from Occidental College back in 2001, and was readying to start his career when terrorists changed the country forever on Sept. 11.
Danni and his group of 300 trainees made it out of the building, and still keep in touch with each other.
"We constantly remind ourselves of all of our gifts,'' he told the crowd gathered at South Pasadena City Hall for a remembrance event Tuesday morning.
"9/11 is a time to remember all the wonderful things we have in our lives, but never forget those who lost their lives,'' he said to the group of residents, city officials, dignitaries, police officers and firefighters.
Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada, who represents South Pasadena, pointed out that both tragedy and near tragedy affected this town of 26,000. The legislator alluded to graduate Sue Kim Hanson, who died Sept. 11, 2001 with her husband and their daughter. All three were aboard United Air Lines Flight 175, the second plane to hit the World Trade Center that morning.
Portantino wrapped up the remembrance ceremony by reading "Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep,'' a poem written in 1932 by Mary Elizabeth Frye.