BRISTOL, Tenn. - Junior ROTC cadets at Tennessee High School were about six years old when the 9/11 attacks happened.
During a special observation, it was easy to see that even at a young age, what happened will never be forgotten.
"Everybody just going into the building, trying to save all those people," US Army Private Adam Gottschalk said. "Nobody thought it was going to collapse or anything. When that happened, we were there watching. As soon as the first one came down is when [our teacher] turned off the TV."
That event help motivate 18-year-old Adam Gottschalk to seek a career in the military. Even though he hasn't graduated high school yet, he's already through basic training.
Others like him point to the terrorist attacks as a pivotal moment in their decision to serve in the military.
Bethany Russell told us the memory is still vivid eleven years later. "What stands out the most in my mind is the towers being on fire," Russell said. "Just watching them on fire and not being able to believe it was happening and being so terrified. I broke down crying the next day in class because I was just so scared of terrorist attacks on our nation."
Retired Lieutenant Colonel Frank Linster flew 2,000 combat hours in Vietnam before he starting teaching ROTC cadets. He can't forget that day either:
"The kids were just totally shocked. The classroom, you could have dropped a pin from 100 yards and you could have heard it. I never heard a classroom that quiet," Linster said. "We haven't been attacked since Pearl Harbor and we actually ended up losing more people in the Twin Towers than we did at Pearl Harbor, which started World War II and that is history. It is amazing that we as Americans are very resilient and no matter what happens, it seems we pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and move forward."
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