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Soldiers, officials speak to students

Events commemorate 9/11 attacks

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POSTED: September 14, 2009 10:56 a.m.
Photo by Lauren Hunsberger/

Soldiers and students fold Old Glory during the ceremony Friday morning.

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On Friday morning when Mayor Jim Thomas asked Lyman Hall Elementary students what freedom meant to them, a roar rose from the crowd of children who stood waving American flags. One young, enthusiastic voice rang out above the rest.
“It means you’re free!” the student chirped.
While freedom these days is a complex idea, many community leaders spoke Friday to Liberty County students about basic freedoms and how they’re protected by the men and women who serve the nation. “School is an important freedom. Your right to vote is an important freedom,” Thomas said at Lyman Hall’s second annual Freedom Walk in remembrance of the Sept. 22, 2001, tragedies. Thomas and a few other officials and educators led the crowd in two laps around the school.
Fort Stewart’s Sgt. Alan Buckalew also spoke at the ceremony. He said he was humbled by the students’ enthusiasm for their country.
“I think today is also to honor these children. You will grow up to be the next protectors, leaders, teachers and builders of this country,” Buckalew said.
Later that afternoon, another soldier addressed an older group of students.
Lt. Col. George E. Lewis, surrounded by Bradwell Institute’s JROTC, chorus and band, reminded the students why the current war on terror is still important.
“I lost a friend that day,” he said, telling the audience about Mark Whitford, a New York City firefighter and friend of Lewis’ family. “Today is about remembering the most amazing accounts of heroism.”
He said the enemy that claimed more than 3,000 American lives eight years ago is still a serious threat today and Americans, many of whom live in Hinesville, are still sacrificing their lives for the cause.
“This is still a challenging time for the dog-faced soldier,” Lewis said.

 

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