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1,500 American flags wave at Sun Valley Middle to honor 9-11

Sun Valley’s In School Suspension coordinator Vincent Louis, a former New York City firefighter who served during 9-11, helps seventh-grader Megan Tezzi, 12, put an American flag into the ground in front of the school. (Below) Sun Valley Middle School paid tribute to not only those who died, but all those who serve and protect this country. (Bottom) Students wait in line to place a flag in front of the school.

Most of the students at Sun Valley Middle weren’t even born on Sept. 11, 2001.

There were 2,996 people who lost their lives during the attacks when two planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, one plane hit the Pentagon, and a fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.

In honor of the 14th anniversary of the 9-11 attack, the entire student body at Sun Valley Middle School paid tribute to not only those who died in the attack, but all those who continue to serve and protect our country.

Hundreds of students placed 1,500 American flags in front of their school as a memorial to those who died in 9-11 and a tribute to the United States military, law enforcement, emergency medical personnel and firefighters.

“I really like them doing this today,” said Megan Tezzi, 12, a seventh grader. “I think it’s meaningful, and it honors everyone who served. If you have a family member that was killed during it or just served, you’ll know that people care and honor you.”

Sun Valley Middle Assistant Principal John Grexa said the project was born when the school staff began to think of what they could do in honor of 9-11.

“It gives these kids a sense of pride, because their friends are involved, and it gives them a sense of community because this is their school and their community and everyone can see the flags,” he said.

The memorial service held a very special meaning to one staff member at Sun Valley Middle.

In School Suspension coordinator Vincent Louis was a firefighter with the New York City Fire Department. He lost several friends when the towers collapsed.

“I’m happy that most of the students we have here weren’t even born at that time,” Louis said. “I think it will bring some meaning to the kids. I also think it’s a good time for students to reflect on what emergency services do for us – police, fire, paramedics - everybody that works to make our school safe.”

Louis remembers the days that followed the terrorist attack. “We did our part to help as many people as we could,” he said. “You try to reflect on the good things that came as a result and there were many good things. The best came out of the worst conditions. People really stepped up and did some wonderful things, from then until now.”

Inspiration for the event came from the school’s principal, Vicki Merritt after a conversation with one of her staff, Vincent Louis, a former sergeant with the New York City Fire Department, on active duty during the 9-11 terrorist attacks.  

Merritt said it was a team effort, involving her staff, who not only helped with the logistics of the event, but also took the lessons of the importance of 9-11 into the classroom.

“The students of Sun Valley Middle School wanted to take a moment to thank, honor and remember,” she said. “I don't believe that's ever too much to ask. I'm very proud of our students as they did exactly that today.”

Written by: Deb Bledsoe - UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Sep 10, 2015 by Deb Bledsoe

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