Campuses Honor Heroes for 9/11

Reeces Creek students walk to remember
By: Todd Martin
Children showed off their patriotism, waving tiny flags, carrying red, white and blue banners and shouting out “U-S-A.”
On Friday, the day before September 11, schools across Killeen ISD joined peers throughout the region and nation to remember an event that occurred before they were born.
At Reeces Creek Elementary School, students stepped into the hallways, made their way outside, circled the building and assembled on the blacktop.
Maj. Kenneth Kovach, Executive Officer for the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, the school’s adopt-a-school partner, described the brave efforts of police officers and firefighters who courageously aided those in need.
“This remembrance of September 11, it really shows why we’ve served the past 20 years,” Kovach said prior to the ceremony.
He was a high school student in San Antonio the day hijackers directed planes into the World Trade Center. The soldier recalled classmates gathered around a television as towers in New York City collapsed.
The aftermath of the horrific attacks on America spurred him to join the military.
Now a father of three school-age students, Kovach has completed two tours in Afghanistan and one in Europe during a 15-year military career.
“These kids grew up in a different world,” he said. “The world changed that day. Today we try to protect the homeland and the folks overseas.”
Students at Reeces Creek and all over Killeen wore handmade police, fire and paramedic hats, waved tiny flags and streamers and carried banners.
One group of fourth-graders yelled “Remember September” as many others yelled “U-S-A.”
Fourth-grader Alamena Rivera-Ramon, the daughter of a soldier, said the walk was a way to thank those who help the community stay safe.
“It’s all about the people who had the courage to save people on September 11,” she said. “I think it’s nice to say thank you for all you’ve done.”
To end the campus freedom walk, the school presented soldiers with a flag decorated with student handprints.
Later in the morning at Ellison High School, Killeen ISD hosted the 15th annual community freedom walk.

An Ellison graduate, Lt. Darnell Brown recalled being a West Ward Elementary School kindergarten student when the attacks occurred 20 years ago. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Kindergarten and third grade classes at Oveta Culp Hobby Elementary School drew pictures and made thank-you cards for military police and Fort Hood firefighters.
Fowler Elementary School kindergarten students decorated a fabric flag with their handprints and presented it to soldiers from their adopt-a-school unit. Soldiers spent time reading to students.
Several KISD elementary school teachers said they take advantage of the teachable moment each year to reinforce gratitude for freedom and to honor the courage of emergency first-responders and soldiers.
“Nine Eleven is the day we remember,” said Pershing Park kindergarten teacher Sonia Mason. “We want to show appreciation.” Her students made flags to carry in a hallway parade.
Clifton Park first-grade teacher Misty Hoge found a book that described a firefighting boat retired from service that was called back to assist in the rescue efforts that day.
“It happened and there were heroes that day,” Hoge said. “We were talking about examples and they said, ‘it’s nice to help others.’ They talked about bravery. I think this helps build successful leaders.”