The Kilgore College Fire Academy paid tribute Wednesday night to the 343 firefighters who died 12 years ago on 9/11.
Organizers scheduled the academy's 88th graduation on 9/11 so the graduates will never forget the New York firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"One reason I decided to have it tonight was so that this generation of firefighters never forgets the importance of this day. We're also introducing the cadets to the brotherhood of firefighting," said Mike Fennell lead instructor at the Kilgore College Fire Academy.
"It's very special to me. It's a memorial thing. It's something I'll never forget," said Wesley Daugherty, one of the graduates at the ceremony.
Daugherty was in first grade when the attacks happened, "I didn't know exactly what was going on but I knew we were going to war though because my parents brought me up and they told me."
Like many people, graduate Jovane Rossum remembers exactly what he was doing that day, "I was actually in chemistry class. Our teacher turned on the television and we actually watched the second plane crash into the towers."
Holding the graduation ceremony on 9/11 gave everyone involved a chance to pause honor the victims of the deadly attacks.
"We are never going to forget the sacrifice that the members of the FDNY made 12 years ago because they paid the ultimate price," Fennell said.
The graduates say this is an emotional celebration and they are proud to join in the bond that comes with putting your life on the line for others.
"All of us made it and it's just a very special feeling to be graduating on 9/11," Rossum said.
15 students graduated at Wednesday night's ceremony.
Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt and Texas Assistant State Fire Marshal Kistner Stoudt were guest speakers at the event.
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