Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
Eleven Combat Center Marines were the honored guests of Palm Vista Elementary School students and staff during a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony, Tuesday.
“We are honoring the heroes that went forth after the tragedy of 9/11 and to honor those who fell victim to the terrorist acts,” said Sgt. Michael Condon, contract specialist, Headquarters Battalion, and base color sergeant.
The ceremony not only commemorated those died on the tragic day, but also those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the country.
The Marines stood alongside other heroes being honored that day, including members of search and rescue teams and police and fire departments.
“Since I’ve been a principal of elementary schools I’ve thought it’s important that people remember Sept. 11,” said Cindy McVay, principal, Palm Vista Elementary School. “It was such a changing point in our lives as Americans.”
Each honoree was led by one of the students from the school to the edge of the grassy field located at the center of the school. In front of them stood the flag pole and approximately 350 ranging from kindergarteners to 6th graders.
The color guard marched in unison toward the flag pole to raise the colors. As the flag began to elevate, honorees saluted while students and staff raised their arms over their hearts.
“I saw the awe in kids faces when the color guard came out,” McVay said. “They are almost bigger than life sometimes when they come out and have such passion for what they do.”
The principal shared her experience of Sept. 11, 2001, and why we honor those who we had lost and those who protect us today.
“It’s important we remember 9/11 because it’s a really big part of American history and a really devastating tragedy,” said Marcel E. Williams, 6th-grade student, Palm Vista Elementary.
The name of each Marine and honoree was announced over the speakers and at the mention of their name they bowed down to have a student bestow an appreciative medal around their neck.
At the end of the ceremony, the entire school lined up to thank each of the guests personally.
“It’s been a pleasure meeting the kids,” Condon said. “I think they were surprised and they really appreciated us coming out.”