Sept. 11 brought Carl Peyser home.
Ten years ago, he was at work at his communications job for a real estate firm at Penn Station, Peyser said. He spoke Sunday before the Melville Fire Department's anniversary ceremony he helped plan to honor the 43 people from Huntington who died that day.
A trained emergency medical technician, he ran to a nearby firehouse and joined a seven-man crew headed to the trade center. The firefighters all raced to the first tower. Peyser headed west to a medical triage area.
He looked up and saw people jumping from buildings, an unimaginable sight. He spent the day treating people injured in the attack and its aftermath. Later, Peyser learned that each of the seven firefighters he had joined had died in the first tower.
"It was an overwhelming feeling of helplessness," he said.
The images of that day haunted him. He spent days just watching television. The stress, he said, broke up his marriage.
But the experience also served as a reawakening of sorts. Peyser, 57, had grown up in Melville, but moved away. After his divorce, he remarried and moved back to his hometown. He soon joined the fire department.
Peyser initially thought he was too old to be of much use, but he found he could help train younger members.
Now, he said, "I don't have that feeling of helplessness anymore."