GILBERT, Ariz. - Arizona hosted several events this weekend to remember Sept. 11, including one going on into the evening hours in Gilbert, and a man told the story of the life-changing impact the day had on him.
Michael McAvoy described the losses of his brother and his best friend on that fateful day.
"These are two people I thought I'd grow old with," he said. "It hurts."
It's a day he remembers vividly.
"There was a giant hole in the building and smoke was pouring out and I was like, 'Oh my god,'" McAvoy said.
His friend, Jimmy, worked at the Trade Center on the 104th floor.
"I'm dialing his phone. I'm dialing his phone and I'm getting no answer," McAvoy remembered.
His brother, John, was a firefighter.
"In a matter of just 20 minutes I knew I had my best friend in the Trade Center and my brother is probably there, too, and it was not a good feeling," he said. "It was a really sick feeling."
McAvoy checked with family members, local hospitals, and the fire department.
"I remember this one fireman, Billy, I looked at him right in the eye and I said, ‘Where is my brother?’ He said, 'We don't know,'" McAvoy recounted.
It wasn't until that evening that he was forced to accept the truth.
"Neither one of them were going to make it out alive," he said.
They didn't find his brother's body until February and his friend was only identified months later through DNA.
"I wish I had them both here to spend my life with. My brother was the rock of the family. He was an amazing human being," he said. "They both were."
McAvoy carries the pain of his losses with him every day, but he also treasures their memories.
His advice to others is to hold your loved ones close.
"My own children, to call them, tell them how much I love them, because any day can be your last day," McAvoy said. "That day certainly proved that."