MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A retired Horry County police officer, Felix Cruz, was also a former first responder in New York City and was one of the people who responded to the 9/11 attack to the Twin Towers in 2001.

He was monitoring an election poll when he got the call that the first tower was hit.

“It changed the way we looked at life and what we did you know and unfortunately some people never made it home,” Cruz said. “You have so many different things going on, your emotions, you’re mad, you’re angry, you’re scared but we knew we had a job to do — to keep the people of New York City safe and that’s what we did.”

First responders, firefighters, officers and anyone who was at Ground Zero after the towers fell were exposed to dangerous fumes. Cruz said it affects people to this day.

“We still deal with it,” he said. “We deal with the health problems and stuff like that, so it doesn’t go away. People don’t realize 9/11 didn’t just happen 21 years ago. It continues. It wasn’t just that day, week, months years, it continues to this day.”

The city of Myrtle Beach put together a Unity Memorial for Sept. 11. This year will be the 21st anniversary of the tragic attack.

“We need to remember the event, we need to remember all the lives that were lost and we need to work together to make this a better place and that gives us the opportunity to do that,” said Mark Kruea, spokesperson for the City of Myrtle Beach.

The Unity Memorial is held at the 9/11 memorial in Warbird Park. At the memorial, there is a steel beam that was from the North Tower.

“In the year, two years after the terrorist attacks, the Myrtle Beach community invited New York firefighters, police officers and their families here for free vacations and we did that for about 18 months, so that generosity prompted the firefighters to do a regular golf tournament here and what prompted them to give the community that steel beam,” Kruea said.

The memorial is at 1 p.m. Sunday at Warbird Park.