With hands over their hearts and eyes towards the American flag, students and local first responders recited the Pledge of Allegiance with the events of Sept. 11, 2001, in mind.

On the 18th anniversary since terrorists struck America, Hardin Park School welcomed first responders to parade around the halls of the school for the fourth annual Patriot Day Celebration. Emily Rothrock, Hardin Park School’s AIG teacher, said the school hosts the Patriot Day ceremony to foster gratitude for local heroes, develop a sense of civic responsibility and honor the memories of the American lives lost on 9/11.

“Students learn about 9/11 in the days leading up to Patriot Day, and are encouraged to respond in ways that honor those lost and serve those that work to keep us safe everyday,” Rothrock said.

The event started with a crowd of students and first responders gathering outside of the school for the posting of the colors by Watauga High School JROTC cadets. Students in Hardin Park’s band played several pieces of Patriotic music, and Principal Phil Norman spoke of the events that happened 18 years ago.

First responders from Boone Police, Appalachian State University Police, Boone Fire Department, Watauga Rescue, Watauga Medics, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and others were led around the school with cheers and high fives from students.

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