BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — 9/11 is a somber date on the calendar throughout the United States. It’s a day that is linked with the tragedy of the attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives.

For 22 consecutive years, the city of Jacksonville has remembered one of its favorite sons who lost his life on 9/11: Army Major Dwayne Williams. His brother Roy says he’s just beginning to find his way past the pain. 

“It’s been 22 years since my brother died on 9/11. For the first time in 22 years, I’m more at peace. I’m focusing on happy memories and not his death,” Williams said.

The cities of Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook and Homewood held their annual patriot day ceremony at Homewood City Hall.

Melissa Turnage lost her son Adam who was working in the Twin Towers when the planes struck. She believes today is an opportunity to connect.

“That’s what this day is about. You know, when you go through a tragedy like this, you need to have somebody to hang on to you,” Turnage said.

Both Williams and Turnage are hopeful that the memories of good times with their loved ones can replace the tragedy. Williams hopes we can all remember how the tragic events of 9/11 brought us all together.

“The only good thing that came out of 9/11 is that it brought our country together and we united under the great colors of red, white and blue,” Williams said. “That’s the best way to honor the legacy and memory of those who died on that tragic day 22 years ago.”

Turnage agrees and is convinced something good can come from something so terribly tragic. 

“We are all here together to kind of remember that horrible, tragic event and turn it maybe into something for the good,” Turnage said.

Major Williams’ mother Pearl was unable to attend the 9/11 ceremony in Jacksonville due to an illness. She has been the driving force behind the ceremonies and has asked her son Roy to continue the tradition — a request he was all too happy to fulfill.