Students pause to remember victims of Trade Center attacks

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Flags flew at half staff and some ceremonies took place around Natchez Thursday on the second anniversary of Sept.11 &045;&045; and the schools were no different, with displays of patriotism and remembrance.

Two Natchez-Adams schools remembered the day of tragedy, terrorism and lives lost two years ago during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

While some say people should move on, others, like those gathered Thursday, do not want people to forget that day.

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&uot;Remembrance is important,&uot; Morgantown Elementary School Principal Fred Marsalis said. &uot;Yes, we should move on, but no, we should not forget.

This event is &uot;going to become a definite part of our history, of our history books,&uot; Marsalis said.

At Morgantown, there was a patriotic ceremony for the entire student body, for the students to know the importance of the day, Marsalis said.

At Morgantown, the students range from second to sixth grade and so all of the students may not understand the day like the older students do. Marsalis said delicacy is needed to explain the importance of the day to the younger children while the older students can learn about the event, related through lessons and history.

At the end of the ceremonies, all of the students released red, white and blue balloons into the air, helping &uot;symbolize the spirit of America,&uot; Marsalis said.

&uot;Smaller kids will probably never forget the balloon release,&uot; he said. &uot;Hopefully later they will remember and the importance of the event will register in their minds.&uot;

Assistant Principal Vera Dunmore said the balloon release was symbolic of freedom and being free.

&uot;It was the most captivating moment of the entire ceremony,&uot; Dunmore said.

Administrative Assistant at Morgantown, Dana Benson, said she knows students were impacted by the ceremony.

&uot;I believe it was a very moving moment because I saw several students in tears,&uot; Benson said.

Across town at Natchez High School, the ceremony was shorter but no less impacting.

Students from the National Honor Society, Key Club, Air Force ROTC and students from social sciences classes gathered around the flagpole at 8:50 a.m.

After a reading of the Gettysburg Address, a speech that talks about war and the &uot;brave men&uot; that fight in them.

&uot;…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the full measure of devotion…&uot; reads part of the address from President Abraham Lincoln.

And after the final words were read, the National Honor Society honored one man that died for his country while in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom on April 7, a Natcheezian, a soldier and a graduate of Natchez High School &045;&045; Henry Levon Brown.

&uot;He was truly a mighty, mighty Bulldog,&uot; the end of the plaque read.

His mother, Rhonda James-Brown said she has feeling of happiness, sadness and memories on Sept. 11.

She said it was wonderful &uot;just to think, they would honor one of the fallen soldiers and students that attended here.

&uot;I hope they never forget.&uot;

After the presentation of the plaque, the AFJROTC lowered the flag to half-staff, there was a moment of silence and two Natchez High trumpet players echoed one another, playing Taps for the crowd of listeners.

After the pledge of allegiance, Key Club sponsor Tatia Brewer said, &uot;We stand here today, remembering the heroes and victims of 9-11.&uot;

Megan Roberts read a poem called &uot;The Generation After&uot; by Emily Michelson.

Brown told the crowd to remember that Henry was watching over them and &uot;God Bless America.&uot;

The ceremony ended at approximately 8:58, about the time a plane hit the second tower of the World Trade Center.

&uot;I think it was important (to have this ceremony) because people were effected. Their lives should be honored and celebrated… when most people find this a time to mourn,&uot; Natchez High National Honor Society President Jy’Syria Selmon said.