Many of the teachers at Hickerson Elementary School were the age their students are now on this day in 2001 — the day of the World Trade Center attacks.
For those old enough remember, a pledge echoed in the months that followed, we will never forget is a fresh as ever. But the day’s significance must be shared with a new generation.
Special Education teacher assistant Beth Murphey is helping share that sentiment with Hickerson Elementary School’s first Patriot’s Day ceremony with the school’s fifth grade and music teacher Andy Barnard.
“The purpose is to remember those who lost their lives, and to remind the service providers in the community that their service does not go unnoticed. We do notice and here at Hickerson, we appreciate what they do,” she said.
“We set some plans for the event, on Sept. 10 at 9 a.m., We’ve got two students reading poems and all of the fifth graders will sing ‘Where were you,’ by Alan Jackson,” Murphey said.
Guests for the ceremony will include local law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical personal. Students will hold signs with attach victims statistics.
It’s a 30-minute program, but one that is aimed at showing students the human cost and the burden that victims’ families faced following the attacks.
“Last year’s seniors were the last class to have been born the year that happened. Our students and community need to understand the importance these people play in our lives today,” Murphey said.
“Our country had not had anything like that happen since WWII, and literally this whole country stood still. It was day we stood together united. We were one country, united under God.”
She said that students need to be reminded that history repeats, and that there are enemies that want to harm the nation.
Murphey added people who have grown up after the attacks often don’t realize how the nation changed.
“We were freely going through life that day, and boom. You should always be prepared, because you don’t know what might happen.”
Murphey noted that with three air planes, the attackers took away over 3,000 people.
“And you men and women who were willing to go into a building that was collapsing to help save people. Their families stood in the background, not knowing if they were coming home.
“We have to learn to appreciate those people. One day they may be a police officer, firefighter or in the military…they could be the teacher in a school that has to stop take a breath and keep going,” she said.
Murphey remembers Sept. 11, 2001, when she learned of the attacks. She recalls seeing a now retired Marine turned science teacher with his head down. Tears wetting his cheek.
“Wow, everything you’ve worked so hard so that we could do had been taken way in a matter of seconds,” she thought.
Hickerson’s ceremony was held at 9 a.m., Sept. 10 by the fifth grade.