JROTC members at Wagener-Salley High School raise the American flag to half-staff at the high school's Patriot's Day flag raising ceremony Tuesday. 

Local first responders met with Wagener-Salley High School faculty and staff at the school's flagpole Tuesday to commemorate and remember the lives lost during the 9/11 terrorist attacks that occurred 18 years ago.

On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four planes, crashing two into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York and another into the Pentagon. The fourth plane, meant for the White House, crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after the plane's passengers thwarted hijackers. 

Col. Maxie Joye, with the Wagener-Salley JROTC program, said the JROTC hosts a 9/11 ceremony every year; however, this is the school's first ceremony in three years due to weather concerns in the past. 

Joye said the 9/11 attacks are this generation's Pearl Harbor in that although he was not born during the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was always taught to remember the event.  

Many students who attended the flag raising were born either in the same year or after the events that took place on Sept. 11, 2001. However, students like Lydia Hooper see the importance of remembering the tragic day and those who lost their lives.  

"I think that most of the people at our school weren't born during that time, but still the impact that it's had on all our lives is very sad," Hooper said. 

First responders' vehicles sat on the front lawn of the high school with their lights flashing while students escorted first responders to stand around the flagpole. 

A moment of silence was held to remember those who lost their lives during the attack. Shortly after, student Lance Brown played "Taps" on a trumpet as members of the JROTC brought the nation's flag to half-staff.

Assistant Chief George Day, with the Wagener Fire Department, was one of the first responders in attendance. Day said he was honored to be a part of the event and it's message of remembrance.  

fire chief

Assistant Chief George Day, with the Wagener Fire Department, looks on as the JROTC raises the American flag at Wagener-Salley High School.

"It's a good remembrance to let everybody know, especially these young kids that weren't around or old enough to realize what happened," Day said. "Don't let them forget all the people that risked their lives to save others."

As the event concluded and students were ushered back into class, Wagener-Salley Principal Chris Earl stood at the flagpole for photos with JROTC members. 

Earl said he remembers teaching a social studies class on Sept. 11, 2001, when a fellow teacher told him to turn on the television. 

Earl not only remembers the day of the attacks, but the somber feeling that followed as years passed. He encourages teachers and those who lived through the events of 9/11 to continue to teach the younger generation about what happened. 

"We have to take responsibility, as adults, to remind our students of things that happened in the past and how those things affect us in the future," Earl said. "If they forget, that would be a loss for all those men and women that made the sacrifice." 

Matthew Enfinger is a general assignment reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter: @matt_enfinger