"A month before September each year, we all start to hurt," he said. "We can send $4.5 billion to Africa, but we can't take care of our own."
Lopez understand why Americans are tired of war, but says, "it's better we fight them there than over here. Bush did the right thing, but it's time to bring the boys home."
But for others, cynicism over the war colors attitudes toward the annual remembrances at 9/11 memorials.
Dr. Jeff Harris, a retired anesthesiologist from Harvard, Mass., was critical of Bush's invocations of the terrorist attacks. "He used 9/11 to start the war, and he's going to use it keep it going."
In rural Bristol, Vt., where U.S. fighter jets could be heard patrolling the nearby border with Canada in the anxious days following 9/11, the initial fear has subsided, but residents like Louise Blake are still traumatized by the memory.
Blake, who works at a local bookstore, had spent the weekend hand-sewing a dress that she wore to work on that fateful Tuesday morning.
"I haven't been able to wear that dress since," said Blake. "It was so shocking. How can anyone move on after that? It's always in the back of our minds."
A majority of Americans -- 54 percent – think the U.S. campaign against terrorism is going well and only about half the public believes the government is doing all it can to prevent future attacks, according to the ABC News poll.
Like Blake, worry is higher among women. The poll revealed 74 percent of women feared future attacks, as opposed to 58 percent of men.
Born in England, she says her adopted country missed an opportunity when it went to war in Iraq.
"It was a pivotal time," she said. "We could have said to the Middle East countries, 'What is it that we're doing that is making you so angry? Why do you hate us? What can we do,' instead of invading Iraq.
The poll showed that Americans, by nearly 2-1, disapprove of Bush's handling of the war, 65 percent to 34 percent. His broader job approval rating is almost identical.
Louise Blake's husband Rich celebrated his 21st birthday in the Vietnamese jungle as an infantryman in the first air cavalry – the same unit that was portrayed in the dark anti-war film by Francis Ford Coppola, "Apocalypse Now."
Today, Blake plays bagpipes at weddings and funerals. Like many Americans, he finds parallels between the Iraq and Vietnam.
"The left wing is totally fed up and the right wing is impatient," he said. "Bush is treating Anbar Province like Robert Duvall's great success story in the movie," said Blake. "It's not victory any more than the smell of napalm in the morning."
Even veterans from the first Gulf War are critical of current U.S. policy.
Vets like Barry Martel of Wilton, N.H., an avid hunter who has taught his children to kill and eat squirrel, supported President Bush when he ordered troops into Afghanistan and later into Iraq.
"We went in and got Saddam and did the job," said Martel. "But now we're only policemen."
The Vermont National Guard has paid one of the highest prices in Iraq. According to the Poynter Institute, the state leads the nation - "at somewhere between double and more than triple the rate of residents who die in Iraq" compared to larger, urban states.
Marianne Doe, a high school English teacher in Middlebury, Vt., knows many of the families who have lost sons in the war. Two or three of her students' parents left New York City after 9/11 to seek refuge in rural Vermont.