Sept. 11, 2001 is a date burned into the memory of most Americans. But the students at Peralta Trail Elementary School were not even alive when the twin towers fell. That didn’t stop them from honoring all those who died, and the first responders who serve the community today.
First there was a flag raising, students sang the National Anthem and America (My Country Tis of Thee) and the principal Natalie Clement talked to the students about Sept. 11, at Peralta Trail, 10965 E Peralta Road, Gold Canyon.
“On Sept. 11, before you were born, 14 years ago, we had terrorists attack our country,” Ms. Clement told the students during the assembly. “It was a very scary time for a lot of people.”
Then she explained the concept of Patriot Day to the students. On Dec. 18, 2001, President Bush signed a bill that made 9/11 Patriot Day. The day includes the flag being lowered to half-staff and a moment of silence to honor those who died. In more recent years, the day has become one of public service as well. The event is not just recognized in the U.S. but across the world.
“The president made Patriot Day so that we remember what happened that day,” Ms. Clement said. “And that we remember that we are a strong country.”
Music teacher Karl Hermann assisted Ms. Clement on planning the event.
“It is really important for the kids to understand their heritage and I feel that it is important to understand the great blessings that we have in this country,” Mr. Hermann said.
Michael Ramirez was a fourth teacher at Peralta Trail last year and his daughter Sophia is in fifth grade at the school.
“It brings the community together, especially after the influx of students from the other school,” Mr. Ramirez said. “The idea of community is such a big thing for a school.”
Mr. Ramirez said that bringing the community together is something that Peralta Trail does well, being the only elementary school in the Gold Canyon area.
“I think it is really special that our community can get together and we can have this because not a lot of people are willing to do this much,” Sophia said. “I think it’s really great.”
Sophia said that she learned about the attack on her own and then went to her parents with questions about the historic event.
“I think it’s important so they (younger students) know it’s not a day to mess around, it’s a day to remember what happened,” Sophia said. “And not to expect the world to be a dream factory, because it’s not.”
Mr. Ramirez taught his students about Sept. 11 in his class.
“We did a whole week on it,” Mr. Ramirez said “I know some of the images can be pretty scary for the kids but if you do it in a way that builds the idea that something happened to the country and it brought it (the country) together.”
Mr. Ramirez was asleep when the attacks of Sept. 11 happened. He said a friend called him and told him to turn on the television.
“I had been in New York the year before and it didn’t seem like those building could fall at all,” Mr. Ramirez said. “They were so enormous.”
Mr. Hermann also was asleep during the attacks but when he arrived at work, nothing got completed, he recalled.
“I did have to go to work that day and people weren’t really productive that day,” Mr. Hermann said. “They were in complete shock of what was going on.”
Mr. Ramirez remembered a similar experience.
“I remember going around and everybody just kind of looked like a zombie, everybody was just kind of numb,” Mr. Ramirez said. “It was very frightening.”
During the assembly, Ms. Clement reminded the students of the things that Americans learned.
“Even though it was a scary time and it was pretty sad, we also learned some things,” Ms. Clement said during the assembly. “But most of all we learned that we are proud to be Americans.”