GREENVILLE — Greenville Junior High School held its annual Patriot’s Day program Friday morning where students, staff, local law enforcement and first responders gathered to remember the events and honor the memory of those who lost their lives on 9/11.
“On this date in history, lives were lost, heroes were forged and our understanding as Americans of just what our freedom and security cost, was solidified,” said Chris Mortensen, principal. “We gather today on the 15th anniversary of this tragedy to take a moment to reflect on the heroes who emerged that day.”
The 9/11 attacks were a series of terrorist attacks where four airliners were hijacked. The results of which killed nearly 3,000 people and injured more than 6,000. Two of those planes crashed into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and within two hours, both towers collapsed. The third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., leading to a partial collapse of the west side of the building. After changing direction and possibly heading toward Washington, D.C., the fourth plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to overcome the hijackers.
After discussing what it means to be a hero with several students and parents, Mortensen said they concluded that, in some cases, heroes are created out of a necessity to which the event that has confronted them brings them into.
“These are ordinary people like you and I,” he said. “Who stand up showing exceptional courage and strength in the midst of extreme danger and chaos. Those involved in the events of September 11, 2001 were a prime example of people such as these and they inspire a nation to an understanding of just what truly constitutes a hero. They strengthen us in our resolve to not allow these acts to go unanswered.”
Mortensen said almost every student attending the memorial hadn’t been born yet when the 9/11 events occurred.
During the memorial, the Greenville NJROTC performed a military drill at the event. Afterwards the American flag was hung at half-staff and a moment of silence was held.
Fred Dohse, who served as the guest speaker, said those attending should be proud for wanting to recognize and honor Patriot’s Day.
“As Greenville natives, we’re all familiar with Annie Oakley,” he said. “She felt so strongly about Patriotism and defending this country that at one point in 1898 she wrote to President William McKinley offering the government the services of a company of 50 lady sharp-shooters, who would provide their own arms and ammunition, should the United States go to war with Spain. The president politely declined her offer but I think Annie would be proud of you today for wanting to observe Patriot’s Day, a day for remembering the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. But I also think a day for us to reflect on the state of our country and to ask ourselves as citizens ‘are we doing our part to keep our nation, our society and our democratic principle strong.’”
Growing up in Greenville, Dohse spent 30 years in the United States Navy.
Dohse also wanted to pay his respects to those who serve the Greenville community.
“The events of 9/11 taught us that we are blessed to first responders who are ready at a minute’s notice to protect our lives and our property when the situation requires,” he said.
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