SAN ANTONIO -- Sunday marks 15 years since the 9/11 terror attacks that forever changed our country.
You may not know it, but the first 9/11 memorial in the United States was built in San Antonio.
This year, the Alamo City's memorial is offering a place for a family who lost a father in the attacks to remember their loved one.
If you've driven on the far west side of San Antonio you can see the abstract shapes that memorialize Sept. 11, 2001.
"We wanted to make sure that all visitors and those that live here in San Antonio can come here and reflect upon this memorial,” George Davila of 'The Mission Continues' said.
Four structures make up the memorial. The ascending and descending walls represent the people who perished in the Twin Towers and the planes that crashed into them.
On the west side, you'll see the 35 foot pillar. It represents those who died in the Pennsylvania plane crash.
An eternal flame burns on top.
"The most significant part of the memorial is the wall of freedom. It is a wall that represents those that died in the Pentagon and the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. Right at the base of the memorial, we have all the names of those that perished, which really makes it a sacred place," memorial director Peter Onofre said.
"There it is right there. A lot of lost lives,” Jacqueline Milam said.
For Milam, one of those names hits home. Her husband was killed in the 9/11 attacks.
Seeing the memorial brings back memories of the day she lost her husband, Maj. Ronald Milam.
"Even though it's 15 years later, when you delve back to all the things there, it hits you like a ton of bricks," Milam said.
She and her husband were working at the Pentagon the day of the attacks.
Jacqueline had just spoken with her husband on the phone before impact.
"Maybe if I could have kept him on the phone for a little while longer, he would have been late. He would have been ok," Milam said.
At five months pregnant with their second child, she made it out of the building.
Her husband was nowhere to be found.
"It was one week to the day [of the attacks], they notified me and told me that he was positively identified. That he had died," Milam said.
15 years later, this memorial a reminder of that day and what the Jacqueline's eldest daughter and son, who never met his father, have lost.
"I tell you what the hardest part is, just him not being there. [Our kids] never got the chance to know how great he was," Milam said.
The day we will never forget now has a place, in our own backyard, where we can always remember.
"I'm thankful that they want to remember, and that they want to keep all those memories alive," Milam said.
15th anniversary commemoration:
New Life Christian Ministry will hold a commemoration on Sunday at the San Antonio memorial at 9:30 a.m. The memorial is located on campus at the New Life Christian Center at 6610 W. Highway 90.
On Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., The Mission Continues, a post 9/11 Veterans non-profit, will facilitate a service project at the memorial. Volunteers will construct benches, plant new plants and improve landscaping at the memorial to prepare for Sunday's commemoration event.
(© 2016 KENS)