GASTONIA, N.C. -- The Stephen Siller 9/11 Never Forget Mobile Exhibit stopped in Gastonia for the weekend to educate adults and children on the impact of the 9/11 attacks.
NBC Charlotte spoke to a 9/11 first responder who escorted the museum into town as part of the station's On the Road to a Better Community with Gastonia Nissan.
Retired NYPD Detective Frank DeMasi was a member of the Emergency Services Unit and vividly remembered the day, and he recalled feeling a sense of helplessness.
"I remember standing on the corner of West and Vessey; basically right under the north tower," Det. DeMasi said. "You can't help people that are standing at broken windows and waving to you and jumping."
As a way to remember the more than 3,000 people who died, including 14 police officers DeMasi worked with, he participates in 9/11 awareness events.
"The commitment was to never forget," Det. DeMasi said. "This is one way that we keep their memory alive."
Tanzere Nelson happened to come across the museum's procession while running errands with her two children.
She said her boys jumped in excitement when they saw the fire trucks participating in the escort.
"'Yeah, there's one, two, three, oh wow!'" Nelson recalled saying. "'Guess we're going over to look at the fire trucks.'"
Nelson remembered where she was on 9/11, and she wanted to teach her children to respect first responders.
"They're more appreciated than they know," Nelson said.
The museum is located at the Eastridge Mall parking lot across from Dillard's department store, and it will be open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.