TYLER (KYTX) - Twelve years ago, East Texas high school seniors were in kindergarten. They watched tragedy unfold before their young eyes, not knowing the extent of what happened. But, our nation has changed and so have those students.
On September 11th, 2001, we saw the images on our television screens that seemed almost unreal. We saw the twin towers fall as people ran for safety covered in dust.
"There was so many people walking with shoes in their hands and dusty from the smoke," said Ezinne Uduma.
Ezinne is 16-years-old now, but she was in kindergarten in Brooklyn when it all happened 12 years ago. She had to be evacuated from her school by teachers who tried to remain calm.
"They said to pray and to keep everyone in their prayers. They didn't really go into detail about what had happened," said Uduma.
When Ezinne got home after walking through the packed streets, her mother told her what had happened.
"I asked a lot of questions. I was like what's happening, why did they do this, what's going to happen next? Who's hurt, is everyone ok?" explained Uduma.
In a government class at Grace Community School in Tyler, students remembered the answers they got to those questions.
"My mom pulled us out to our backyard and she told me what happened. She told us two planes had hit the towers and it was really sad," said Mary Schuler.
"Something had happened and it was terrible against our country...and that's all they said to me," said Kendrick Wong.
Kendrick was in British Columbia on vacation with his parents when terrorists struck New York City.
"It ended up that we couldn't get back into the U.S. for another week," said Wong.
Mary had just started kindergarten in Wisconsin. She didn't go to school that day as she and her parents watched news coverage.
"It didn't really seem real at first. I thought my mom was showing me a video or a movie," Mary recalled.
These students may have changed on the outside but on the inside they understand a lot more.
"I believe that our country will continue to be the great country it is, despite these tragic events," said Wong.
As they grow older, so has our country, that changed right before their eyes.