It’s hard to find someone who cannot recall exactly where they were when they heard about the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Lyman Hall Elementary School Principal Claire Blanchard played that sentiment to students — most of whom were born after the attacks — on Tuesday during a Freedom Walk ceremony. She likened the moment to when she heard about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
“Hopefully there will never be a tragedy in your life that we remember the way this is ingrained in our brains,” Blanchard told the crowd.
Students dressed in red, white and blue waved flags during the ceremony, and the colors were posted at half-staff. The crowd observed a moment of reflection, and resource teacher Denise Blackmon sang the pledge of allegiance.
Representatives from the Liberty County Board of Education, city of Walthourville, Hinesville police and fire departments and the U.S. Military Vets Motorcycle Club joined in the walk, where students hand in hand lapped the school.
Liberty County Board of Education Chairwoman Lily Baker spoke about how the day changed Americans’ lives.
Prior to 9/11, we had a list of “don’t forgets” that encompassed basic activities that are part of daily life, Baker said. But 9/11 reminds us of a list of “remembers.”
“Remember to honor those that keep us safe; remember to value each person that you meet,” Baker said. “Do not think that the person on your left is more important than the person on your right; they each come with values.”
Lt. Col. Justin D. Hadley of the 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, spoke on behalf of Fort Stewart.
“Today we remember the nearly 3,000 men, woman and children who died in the attacks on Sept. 11,” he said. “We also honor the more than 6,000 service members that made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
He paid commended the more than 5 million Americans who have since served in uniform.
“Never before has America asked so much of our all-volunteer corps and their families; I would imagine that many of you have moms and dads that did just that,” he said.
“It is amazing to think about how much has changed in American and in the world over the last 11 years,” today, we continue to face challenges all over the world, but I’m here to tell you that we live in a great and wonderful country, and it’s extremely resilient.”
Hadley paralleled the resilience of those who live in New York City to the entire nation to end on a hopeful note.
“As we look back on the last 11 years and how this great new generation has brought our nation into the 21stCentury, let there be no doubt that these wonderful children gathered here today, with inspiration provided by their families and teachers alike, will take us to new heights,” he said.