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Rise of Freedom

They Don’t Remember, But Will Never Forget

Rise of Freedom: Mid-Maine Students at GroundZero

Teachers at the Mid-Maine Technical Center in Waterville, Maine, are taking students on field trips to Ground Zero.

For so many Americans, Sept. 11, 2001, is a day forever seared in their memories. However, many others hardly remember it, because they were so young. Children who were sent home from school that Tuesday morning, but didn't really understand why, are now becoming adults. They're graduating high school and getting their first jobs.

For some of them, seeing the spot where terrorists toppled the Twin Towers nearly ten years ago is helping to shape the rest of their lives.

Nicole Welch of Messalonskee, Maine, was in the second grade on 9/11.

"We were going out to recess when my teacher told us we were going home because planes hit the World Trade Center."

Welch, now 17, admits it didn't have much of an impact on her.

"I didn't really understand what was going on, so it wasn't that big of a deal to me."

That's exactly why teachers at the Mid-Maine Technical Center in Waterville, Maine, are taking students on field trips to Ground Zero.

"A lot of them were 6, 7 years old when this happened so the memory might be vague for them," says Josh Wheeler who trains Mid-Maine Tech's high school students to be firefighters and emergency medical technicians. "To actually go there and see it and connect it with people who were actually there, responding there in person, it's pretty fantastic for them."

Tom Savinelli is a retired firefighter who helped search for survivors and plane wreckage in lower Manhattan in the days after the terror attacks.

"New York is very noisy, but you could drop a pin a mile away and you could hear it," Savinelli recalls. "It was incredible, just the mood and the dedication of everybody."

Savinelli introduced Mid-Maine Tech students to other 9/11 first responders during the school's first field trip to Ground Zero last year and will again during the school's second trip on Thursday.

"The firefighters are very happy that we're doing this, that the kids are coming and learning about it because they don't want it forgotten," Savinelli says.

Welch has uncles who are firefighters. She decided become one herself until after visiting Ground Zero for the first time last year, when she was in 11th grade.

"It definitely pushed me over to wanting to come back and be in the firefighting class," she says.

Welch graduates from high school in June but is already working as a volunteer firefighter in her hometown in Maine. She plans to fight fires full time starting this summer. While she says she is inspired by her brothers and sisters in the New York Fire Department, she has no interest in following in their footsteps.

"I like excitement, I like the adrenaline rush, but I think living in New York would be too much. You know I honor them for what they do, but I think it's not for me."

The school is spending $9,500 to send a group of 30 students and chaperones on the trip to Manhattan. The students, their teachers and their parents raised the money through bake sales, car washes and raffle tickets. Mid-Maine Tech is already raising money to take more students to Ground Zero next year, to once again make sure that those too young to remember ... never forget.

Tune in to "Fox Report" with Shepard Smith tonight at 7pm ET for a full report on Mid-Maine Tech's field trip to Ground Zero. It is the latest installment of "The Rise of Freedom," a special series about the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. You can also catch up on all our segments by going to www.foxnews.com/freedom.

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