By Todd Martin
They wrote it on banners. They chanted it. They spoke it. Even though they don’t remember it, they are living it.
The bright red student-written banner at Cavazos Elementary School in Nolanville said it this way: “9/11 Never Forgotten.”
Across Killeen ISD schools Monday, adjacent to and including Fort Hood, students from pre-kindergarten on up celebrated freedom and acknowledged sacrifice on the 16th anniversary of the terroristic attacks known as 9/11.
At Cavazos Elementary School, Principal Joseph Gullekson convened a school-wide assembly in front of the school. After a group of fifth-graders raised the flags, as they do each day, he gave the regular announcements and then explained the uniqueness of the day.
“Even though they were not born when it happened, they understand the sacrifices necessary for our freedom,” the principal said following the assembly and freedom walk around the building. “They will know there is something special about 9/11. They know that we take care of our fellow Americans.”
Kindergarten teacher Rebecca Baker directed her young students through the parade around the school and posed them carefully for a class photo.
“This is part of their history and it’s important for them to learn,” she said, explaining the gravity of the lesson and experience even for the youngest students.
“My approach is from the strength of our nation,” Baker said. “Even though there are bad guys out there, we pull together as a country.”
At West Ward Elementary School, first younger students and then older ones gathered at the front of the building and after the playing of “Taps” on a trumpet, joined adopt-a-school soldiers in a walk around the building.
Maj. Rashawn Warren of the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade explained to students that soldiers work hard to ensure the kind of freedom that allows them to attend school and use their education to achieve.
“This is our community and these students have family members who serve,” he said. “We want to serve as an example for them and they should see us out here.”
That day in 2001, Warren was a student at Kent State University. Like many, he thought at first the tragedy at the World Trade Center was an accident until the reports of the second crash.
That day, he said, “I knew I needed to do something bigger.” He joined the military.
“This is a generation that was not around at that time, but they respect and remember our freedom,” said West Ward Principal Maureen Adams. “They honor our soldiers and understand why soldiers do what they do. They need to know why America is a great country.”
“Nine eleven is when two planes crashed into two towers,” said Cavazos fifth-grader Helena Tackett. “Hope was a little lost,” she said. “We want to make sure that doesn’t happen again. We want to honor those who died and think about what happened.”
“We want to honor the firefighters and the soldiers,” said Cavazos fifth-grader Kenneth Corwin. “We raise the flag everyday to represent our school, our state and our country.”
September 11, 2017