"It never gets any easier," the father of a FDNY firefighter who died in the 9/11 attacks said.
FREDERICK, MD-- Bob Carlo is standing at Ground Zero today staring into the resting place of his son, FDNY Firefighter Michael Carlo.
"I think about him every, single day," Carlo said last week as the sixth anniversary of the terrorists' attack grew closer. "I never gets any easier. I get choked up talking about it. It's like it happened yesterday."
On that morning six years ago, Michael Carlo was talking with his brother Rob, also a FDNY firefighter, describing the black smoke rolling out of the tower. "They were talking by direct connect when he saw the second plane strike the other tower. Then, he told him that his company was getting called. He told Rob he'd talk to him that night."
But, that call would never happen.
Michael Carlo was with his crew of Engine 230 in the South Tower when it came crashing down.
It took Bob Carlo two days to get to New York from Frederick, Maryland, still holding on to a sliver of hope that his 34-year-old son miraculously survived. He didn't even try to get to the site. He went to Rob's home.
"Rob went to the pile every day hoping he'd find his brother."
In early October, Carlo joined other families led to Ground Zero by then Mayor Rudy Guiliani.
"Looking up at the twisted steel that looked like licorice sticks, I just knew there was no way they would find my son here."
Carlo's voice quivered as he described those first moments. "It was horrible, just horrible. That pile was massive. You just have no idea."
During one anniversary visit, he described an eerie event. Two large circles of flowers marked the site of the twin towers. "Down there it was very windy. Yet, it was calm on the street. It was as if the spirits were saying they didn't want anything built there."
Carlo stays in touch with others who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, and has let people know how he feels about the memorial being designed.
"I don't think the victims should be listed in alphabetical order. The firefighters' names should be under their companies. That's only right."
There are reminders of his heroic son throughout his home, including a curio cabinet that holds photos, a FDNY uniform shirt, a specially designed quilt and the medal presented to the family during a White House ceremony. There's a square wooden box containing dirt from the pile.
Carlo said he still holds out hope that his son's remains will be located. But, deep down he knows that may never be realized. "It would be good to have closure and a final resting place."
Firefighter Michael Carlo's portrait greets all who enter his father's home office. Other walls are graced with pictures of Michael in happier times as well the flag raising at the site, plaques and awards.
And, the latest addition includes a street sign -- similar to one unveiled Sunday near Engine 230.
"It's an honor. It's Firefighter Michael Carlo Avenue."
Carlo said families' lives changed forever that sunny morning six years ago. "They have their memories like I have mine. My sons were best friends, not just brothers. They did everything together."
Carlo and his eldest son, Rob, who is now retired from the FDNY, enjoy riding motorcycles.
Michael's picture was hand-painted on the back of his father's 2003 Harley Davidson Firefighter Classic. Motorists often give him a thumbs up or wave when they spot it.
Carlo said Michael would like that.