Hardin Park School remembered the losses and heroism of 9/11 with a Patriot Day celebration Friday that included a flag-lowering ceremony by cadets of the Watauga High School JROTC, the playing of the national anthem and America the Beautiful by Hardin Park students, and a hallway parade in the school for local emergency response personnel.
As guests of honor, the law enforcement and other emergency responders in attendance were then treated to a special breakfast with food contributed by the Daniel Boone Inn.
Reflecting the goal of honoring the heroism and public service that was so much in evidence on 9/11, Hardin Park’s School Spirit Committee invited the Boone Police Department, Watauga Count Sheriff’s Department, Boone Fire Department, Watauga Medics, Watauga County Rescue Squad, Watauga Red Cross, Veterans of Foreign Wars, military veterans of Hardin Park students, and ASU Police to attend the ceremonies.
Emily Rothrock, a teacher for Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) students at Hardin Park, was the driving force behind the event and worked with the School Spirit Committee and Student Council to organize the celebration. She commented that “since 9/11 is an historical event for all of our post-9/11 students, we decided Patriot Day would be a great opportunity to teach them about the event and to honor our local heroes at the same time.” This was the second year that Hardin Park students formally recognized Patriot Day, though it was the first time that a ceremony took place on campus.
Patriot Day was signed into law on December 18, 2001 to remember those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people and injured more than 6,000 others. The law encourages Americans to fly their flags at half-staff and observe a moment of silence to honor those individuals who lost their lives in the attacks. The president also issues a proclamation encouraging the observance of Patriot Day “with appropriate programs and activities.”
In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act to further recognize September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance, calling on Americans to make an enduring commitment to serve their community and our nation.
Hardin Park students expressed their gratitude for the service of local emergency personnel not only at the Patriot Day events, but also in writing. They sent letters of appreciation to personnel of the Boone Police Department, Boone Fire Department, Watauga County Sheriff’s Department, Watauga Medics, Watauga County Rescue Squad, Watauga Red Cross, Veterans of Foreign Wars, ASU Police Department, and military parents of Hardin Park students. Students also made signs and banners for guests to take back to their departments for those not able to attend the celebration.
“We hope that this event gives our students a better appreciation for the men and women that take care of us every day and a better understanding of 9/11,” remarked Rothrock. “One of the great things about this country is well we can respond to a national tragedy and turn it into a source of strength. An event like 9/11 reminds us of what binds us together, of how special and how valuable our freedoms are, and of how the most important and most lasting work we can do is to serve others. If our students absorb these lessons, then Patriot Day will have been one of the best days of the year at Hardin Park.”
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