Northeast Middle School conducted a "Celebrate Freedom" program Wednesday. Science teacher Sherry Stewart helped organize the event that grew from a desire to honor slain heroes and honor the military and emergency personnel who continue to serve.
"With the way that our school came together with a sense of American pride after the attacks we wanted to make sure that we gave the children an opportunity to continue and maintain that as well as to let them show their reverence and appreciation for not only the people who died but also those who serve in our military," said Stewart. "With a school that has approximately 25 percent enrollment from the Navy base, so many of our children are involved with the defending and protection of America. And after the attacks last year we saw a sense of pride in them that I don't think I've ever seen before. they really became unified. And they wanted to do this."
Stewart said the Northeast Middle School program was as much a celebration as a memorial.
West Hills Elementary School marked the day by planting a tree, to help students who attend later to remember the sacrifices of many others for the cause of freedom.
West Hills teacher Melissa Loper read from the plaque that will be placed in front of the tree.
"In remembrance and in honor of the heroes and victims of Sept. 11," read Loper. "It's going to be placed in front of our tree. We just thought it would be good for our school to try to help our children understand what happened a year ago and try to help them understand the importance of remembering the people that died. And also the people like the firemen and the police officers and just all the other people that helped in trying to get things back together after the attacks. And how important that is."
Many schools from elementary to college conducted similar observances, to share the emotional tie that seems to bind all Americans.
It was interesting also to now how normal activities of everyday life were in Meridian and elsewhere Wednesday.
The theatres were open at Bonita Lakes Mall. That is a stark contrast from this time last year. Monte Royal of the Bonita Lakes Cinema 9 said the movies were closed last year. Several had been running, including "Two Can Play That Game" and "Rush Hour" with Jackie Chan.