Please read article featured in the Pasadena Star News below.
Maxwell Elementary School students place flowers in a vase during memorial tribute to the victims of 9/11 at Maxwell Elementary School in Duarte on Thursday. They were joined by city, school, county and state officials and members of the L.A. Sheriff’s and fire departments. Students sang patriotic songs and recited inspirational poems.
Eight-year-old Alexandra Mejia didn’t experience first hand the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. But the third-grader has learned of the day and understands why those who died should be honored and remembered each year.
“I like that the brave people were trying to save others,” she said. “We appreciate them.”
During their annual Patriot’s Day ceremony, “Honor Among Ashes,” Thursday morning, Maxwell Elementary students were joined by city, state and school district officials to honor and remember those who died on 9/11 and in the subsequent wars, and those who fought and continue to fight for the country.
Members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s and fire departments also joined the ceremony.
“Let us give thanks to the first responders, to the police and firefighters and all the military,” said Duarte Mayor Liz Reilly.
Second-graders showed their patriotism with a performance of “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” and poems were also recited by students during the ceremony.
A group of students placed red, white and blue flowers in vases during a memorial flower ceremony. Students also presented the Duarte Community Services Council with donated canned food that was collected during a campus-wide food drive.
Maxwell principal Dr. Kelly Buckley said the children are never too young to start learning to be caring and to be risk-takers.
“(Students) are learning how to be international and to care for people around the world,” she said. “Today we showed them an example of heroes and what it means to be caring. We look at our history and how it impacted everyone.”
Even though the events of 9/11 happened thousands of miles away on the east coast, the Duarte and Maxwell community were affected as well.
U.S. Marine Pfc. Francisco A. Martinez Flores of Duarte died in early 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom when the tank he was in traveled over a collapsing bridge and tumbled into the Euphrates River.
His mother is an aide at Maxwell.
Duarte Unified School District boardmember Ken Bell asked students to reflect on the courage of the 9/11 victims.
“There are sacrifices that are made,” he said. “When you want to give up, think about your ancestors who made sacrifices for your freedom.”
Duarte City Councilwoman Tzeitel Paras Caracci led students in a pledge: “I am a leader in my community. I am the future. I will do good things every day of my life.”
Third-grader Alexander Medrano said he was sad for the people who lost their lives on 9/11.
“But I felt happy that they’re praying for those people too,” said the 8-year-old.
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