David Alvarez — the son of Luis Alvarez, the 9/11 first responder who died soon after giving emotional testimony before Congress — said this anniversary, the first without his dad, takes on a “whole new meaning.”

Earlier this year, Alvarez, retired NYPD bomb squad detective, detailed his medical issues during an impassioned appeal for an extension of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. He died in June.

“The day has meant a lot to me ever since 2001, ever since 9/11,” David Alvarez told CNN. “But, as you mentioned, this is the first time — first day of remembrance that I don’t have my father with me. And it absolutely takes on a whole new meaning.”

David Alvarez said caring for his father in his final weeks inspired him to go back to school to study nursing.

“My hope is to help care for other cancer patients. Hopefully other first responders as well,” he said.