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Where were you on 9/11?

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- It was a normal school day in Great Falls, Montana. My younger sister, Danielle, and I were barely awake, brushing our teeth, when we heard Mom scream in shock in the next room.

Danielle and I, with our tooth brushes hanging out of our mouths, watched the news trying to comprehend if it was real. Why would this happen? Why all of those people? Just when we realized it was all real, the second plane hit the south tower.

School was not cancelled but education was on the back burner. The teachers were just as glued to the news as the students; the halls were silent as we raced from class to class just to watch more.

Where were you? Were you old enough to remember or understand? Were you old enough to do something about it? Were you already in a position to do something about it? Did you have loved ones affected by the attacks?

Days after the horrific attacks, the American flag flew on almost every home and many raised their right hand pledging their service and, for some, their lives to protect the country.

We look back at the footage of the towers burning and collapsing; people covered in debris, bodies falling from the towers, the attack on the Pentagon, the plane crash in Pennsylvania and a fire lights up inside of us.

We put on the uniform with determination, pride, and power. We train for the fight by staying mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically ready. We will never forget those lives lost, the pain that stemmed from it, and the unity it built.

I was only in eighth grade, but was no stranger to the military life; Danielle and I grew up "military brats." Years later, we both decided to follow in our parents' footsteps and raise our right hand pledging our service.

Like many others, we all have our personal reasons for joining the Armed Forces, but at the end of the day we fight to make sure our homes and country stay safe.

More thanĀ 3,000 lives were taken on Sept. 11 and many more in the war that followed.
We, as a people, tend to get caught up in our day-to-day stressful lives and sometimes forget who we are as a country and what we believe in, freedom. We fight like cats and dogs between ourselves but in the event an outside force tries to threaten one of our own, make no mistake, we will unite against a common enemy.

We are the United States of America. We are the U.S. Armed Forces. We will never forget.