The event began at 8:15 a.m. with the school band playing the national anthem. After that, ROTC raised the American flag to half-mast.
“I think ceremonies like this promote civic pride and civic awareness,” Rutherford principal Coy Pilson said. “And I also think it moves students to want to serve. So as you can see we have an active student body and we have several students that were willing to serve and perform and to share their thoughts about 9/11.”
Rutherford students shared poems written for the event, in honor of the victims. None of the students were born when 9/11 occurred, but Pilson said that the ceremony allowed the students to learn more about the tragedy, and experience emotions that reverberated across America 20 years ago.
“When young people come up to me and say they were moved emotionally by the ceremony, I think it shows that they were paying attention and that it means something to them and it was significant to them,” Pilson said.
While students gained insight into the emotions felt across the country, the event gave teachers an opportunity to remember the fallen.
“Watch a video, watch the firemen going up in the World Trade Center towers,” Rutherford Middle School teacher Phil Armbruster said. “Watch the firemen knowing that the first tower went down, still going up. That’s heroism.”
Armbruster said that Friday’s event also gave teachers a chance to remember the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and remember the pride in the country shown on that day, and in the immediate aftermath.
“It’s kind of a wake-up call for me just to think 20 years ago this happened,” Armbruster said. “20 years it’s amazing, and we still have American pride to this day.”