MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines with 1st Tank Battalion participated in a Patriot’s Day memorial ceremony at Palm Vista Elementary School Sept. 11.
The ceremony marks 12 years passing since the fateful World Trade Center attacks in New York City; the Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia; and United Flight 93 over Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Combat Center Marines, local police and firefighters were present at the ceremony to be thanked and honored for their contributions in keeping the United States safe at home and abroad.
“I made a promise not to forget the events of September 11,” said Cynthia McVay, principal, Palm Vista Elementary School. “My sincere thanks to all who represent their colleagues. You are all heroes.”
After McVay’s remarks, Sgt. Michael Flavin, tank crewman, 1st Tanks, and Cpl. Phillip Lim, tank crewman, 1st Tanks, made their way to the flagpole to raise the American flag while the National Anthem played. It was then lowered to half-mast in observance of those that were lost, the first responders, and the men and women still serving our country today.
“Many of these kids weren’t even alive when (Sept. 11) happened,” McVay said. “It was a devastating day that turned our nation upside down.”
Children from various classrooms stood near the flagpole while waving small American flags as the Marines, police and firefighters stood in clear view to be honored.
“It was a great ceremony,” said 1st Sgt. Timothy Hartmann, Company D first sergeant, 1st Tanks. ”It’s great to take these Marines that have just returned from Afghanistan to this school and help the children understand why we do what we do.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the children and teachers approached the special guests to personally thank them for what they do.
For some children, standing before a man or woman in uniform was a familiar sight.
“I spoke with a little girl who has a military family,” Hartmann said. “Her father is getting ready to deploy. That family has to take that. It’s the kind of sacrifice many make now.”
The observers of the ceremony were left with the feeling of thanks for those that serve and protect the nation.
“Heroes have many faces,” McVay said. “I believe if I can help one person remember why they choose to put their life on the line for everyone else, then I am honoring the promise I made to myself to remember those heroes on Sept. 11, 2001.”