I had the pleasure of visiting the 9-11 commemorative ceremony at Trautwein Elementary in Mehlville, MO on Friday afternoon. After raining the weather cleared enough for the ceremony to commence and was held under gray skies. The focus was not as much on the horrible events that took place, but rather a celebration of the heroism from the men and women that pulled together to find survivors.
The principal, Dr. Wagener, stood at the microphone to explain to the children that they were placing flags in the yard to honor those who lost their lives that day. The children placed their flags into the mulch covered area as instructed, but you could tell that they didn't fully understand the significance of what happened on September 11, 2001.
It is just as well seeing as though they are elementary school students. However, to participate in such an event is momentous as hopefully it will be something that they will remember throughout their lives. One day they can understand what truly happened that day.
Some of our local police, fireman, and servicemen were honored at the ceremony. I spoke to Dr. Wagener about the event and asked if she felt that children that were born around that time or after could ever truly grasp what we went through that day. She responded, "No. Absolutely not. I still don't grasp it myself." I also asked what the school had done to prepare or inform the children ahead of time to explain why they were holding the ceremony.
The school was sent a video to show the classes that focused on the nation pulling together and not of the terrorism that forever changes our lives. When I asked her how she would suggest that parents broach the subject with their children she said, "Well, that is why we held this ceremony and placed the flags. We wanted a place for parents to go with their children and talk to them about their stories of that day."
I felt the tears begin to flood my eyes when I saw only one man in his military garb, the father of one of the students, salute as they sang "God Bless America." You could tell that he had a personal understanding of what 9-11 meant for so many Americans throughout the country. I thank Dr. Wagener and the students for having me there to be a part of it and to the military men and women for their service.