On this day 18 years ago, we all watched in horror as america was under attack.
9-eleven changed us all on that day including some soon-to be military officers.
Waay 31 news anchor pat simon introduces you to some of them who answered the call.
Nats paul eichwurtzle will never forget ... paul eichwurtzle - former una army cadet "unreal who could be doing this."
His first thoughts on the morning of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
"is this an accident.
Is this an attack?
The whole nation was in confusion at that point.
" yet ... while the stunning images made most of us nervous, shocked and angered ... eichwurtzle ... an army cadet at the university of north alabama .
Paul eichwurtzle - former una army cadet "that's what i signed up for as a soldier is protect my family, my neighbors, my country my community."
He was not alone.
Fellow cadet mike park remembers getting mentally focused for the inevitable.
Mike park - former una army cadet sot "as that picture becomes clearer over time, it just reinforces what you're doing or what you should be doing - at least in my mind."
Their professor of military science arrived at the university of north alabama's westleyan annex after a early morning jog.
Ltc john wright - us army "we were all watching tv and oblivious and what in the world is going on."
While watching the attack on america, lieutenant colonel john wright took a breath and felt a heavier burden on himself as a leader of future combat commanders.
He remembers his challenge to them that morning as they prepared to answer their nation's call to service.
S0t "obviously we began processing well what's going to happen.
I went okay gentlemen and ladies it's time to take this seriously if your were not doing that before because when you graduate and you are commissioned you will be going to war against the enemies of the united states.
" it was a call to action ... that young cadets eichwertzle and park ... would have to wait to answer they had two more years before their commissioning as new army officers.
Mike park "the hard part was waiting on the sidelines ... wanting to make a difference."
Paul eich wertzle "whatever lies ahead i'm gonna train hard.
I'm gonna prepare on whatever the mission may be."
Pat simon - waay 31 pat standup - like many of us ... the 9-11 attack was already personal fir the cadets with the lion battalion here in the campus of una, but it hit even closer to home for them when they found out one of their own was also killed on that fateful morning in september.
Nats - bell toll "army major dwayne williams" major dwayne williams was only 40 years old: a devoted father and husband who was killed when the pentagon was struck.
The call to service now for these cadets was more than about securing our freedom, but there was now a face with a special bond that they were fighting for.
Paul eichwertzle "that brought a real reality check that this is what we are going into.
We're not everyone's best friend, and not everyone is our best friend.
There are people with ill-will and we have to match that."
Mike park "anyone who is already committed to joining the military signed up and pledged their lives, you're already dedicated to out country.
But when you see something like that happen, it just really drives our resolve.
What you're doing is right and inherently good to help not only your country or family but the world.
" and now their military professor, who helped shape them into combat leaders during times of doubt and despair, can sit back with pride.
Ltc john wright - us army "oh absolutely, absolutely proud of them.
They went and did things that i never would have thought of."
And almost two decades later nats "hey mike as they catch up about those days of uncertainly "we had more questions than answers."
There is one thing for certain.
These warriors could have waivered, but they didn't ltc john wright "they could have have said well i don't know about this thing, but to their credit and this generations credit, they didn't let us down."
They stayed the course ... not only honoring their fellow warrior ... but also helping ease our fears ... in the hours following our darkest day.
Waay 31 news.
Along with major dwayne williams, nine other along with major dwayne williams, nine other alabamians lost their lives on 9-eleven - leaving behind husbands, wives, children and