WALLER, Texas — 18 years ago, the world came to halt for millions of Americans who experienced or watched the attacks on Sept. 11 unfold.
Today, a generational gap grows between those who can pinpoint where they were on that day and those who were too young to remember.
A local high school military program is teaching students who weren’t even born yet about the events of that day.
For example, the drill team is one of the many elements of Waller High School’s Junior ROTC program. The group remembered the victims and heroes on the 18th anniversary.
“I always think it isn’t real," said Taryn Wilkins, a cadet 1st Lieutenant in the JROTC program. "Like, I just look at it and that couldn’t have happened here.”
It’s a lesson that’s being taught to them through history books and through those who witnessed it in person or on TV.
U.S. Air Force retired Lt. Col. Byrl Engel is the program’s instructor.
“I did notice that out of 125 cadets that we now have signed up in junior ROTC only five, five of those 125 were born," he said.
“What I’ve learned most about it that it’s just one of those -- it’s just something that we need to keep in our memory and it needs to stay alive," said William Capt, a Waller High cadet captain. "If you forget something, you’re doomed to repeat it. What I’m learning mostly is just how much respect they deserve because a lot of them died, lost their lives or got really sick from the incident.”
The horrific images from 18 years ago haunt those who are old enough to remember the attacks.
“Just watching the events of 9/11 unfold on the television, it’s something, I mean, that’s etched in your memory no matter if you were in the military or not for the rest of your life," Lt. Col. Engel said.
While a post-9/11 era is all these cadets have ever known, they try to absorb everything that took place that day to make sure the victims and heroes are never forgotten.
“I feel like it’s really hard to fathom any of that stuff happening now with all the security we have, but just looking back on how my parents react to this day, it kind of hurts to watch them," Wilkins said.
“I think that’s also kind of important to say, ‘Hey, this is a real thing that’s happened. This is the consequences from what happened,'" Capt said.