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Honoring those lost, teaching citizenship (WITH GALLERY)

Dawson-Bryant Elementary School observes 20th anniversary of 9-11

DEERING — On Saturday, it will be two decades since a sunny September morning turned dark and 2,977 people lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

While the tragedy of that caused grief for families and led to the war on terrorism, it also showed great heroism from the first responders who answered the call that morning.

A ceremony at Dawson-Bryant Elementary School on Friday focused on those two aspects of the date.

“We set aside this day to honor both victims and heroes,” principal Angie Lafon said.

Students gathered at the flag pole in front of the building, where the stars and stripes were at half staff in honor of the lives lost.

Lafon explained the meaning behind that display, then asked students to observe a moment of silence for those who died.

She spoke of the first responders in New York and Washington, D.C. on that day.

“There were people who stepped up and when we have an emergency, they help out,” she told the children.

Lafon told the students that Patriot Day is also a time to learn good citizenship.

She said, in the school setting, this can be shown by cleaning up rooms and “treating others with kindness.”

She said the school had asked the students this week to take part in Acts of Kindness leading up to the anniversary.

A group of fifth graders led the ceremony, which was attended by all students. The Lord’s Prayer was read by Truitt Fields, Parker Jenkins and Zion Stallard, followed by the pledge of allegiance, led by Liam Basham and Tucker Rowe. A poem was read by Libby Blair and Ella Blair, followed by Truitt Fields singing “God Bless the USA,” accompanied by Chelsea Sturgill, Reagan Dickess, Wyatt Kelly, Landan McDaniel, Parker Jenkins, Liam Basham and Kinsleigh Leffingwell.

The school hosts the ceremony each year. Lafon, who said she was in her first year of teaching at Dawson-Bryant when the attacks occurred, said she always finds it very emotional.

“It’s a great opportunity to show the meaning of citizenship,” she said. “Especially now, it’s important to teach kindness by good citizenship and practicing acts of kindness in the community.”