PHOTO CAPTION: Students at the Chester Jordan Elementary School show their patriotic spirit at the September 11th Commemorative Program on Sept. 11, 2012 in El Paso, Texas. More than 100 men and women represented the: military, city first responders, police department, fire department, boarder patrol and custom agency attended. Photo Credit: Sgt. Ida Irby
April 15, 2013
By Sgt. Ida Irby
EL PASO, Texas - More than 200 children adorned in patriotic apparel at the Chester Jordan Elementary School learned about the tragedy of 9/11 as they participated in the 2012 Sept. 11 Commemorative Program on the national day of remembrance, here.
Spc. Mario J. Oliver, an chaplain assistant, gathered 45 of his comrades from the 177th Armored Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, to join the soldiers in the Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers program at the commemorative program. These service members were among many men and women honored because of their service to America to include: veterans, city first responders, police, firemen, and border patrol and custom agents.
The commemorative program helped educate young Americans about the tragedy 11 years ago that claimed more than 3,000 lives on American soil.
"Hi soldier," the smiling children shouted. Many children know stories of super heroes, however local first responders and service members are real heroes in the community that children can look up to. Children in grades K-4 were exited to have U.S. service members in their school to share lunch, read a book and play at break time.
"We gathered here to remember and commemorate an important day in our U.S. history," said Jesse Sepulveda, principal at Chester Jordan as he thanked the honored guests for all that they do. The ceremony included five guest speakers, a high school color guard, and fire truck on display.
Sgt. Muhammad Sheikh, BOSS president, helps soldiers get involved in the local community as well as, leisure activities, recreational activities and improving the quality of life for single Soldiers on Fort Bliss. Sheikh was an honored guest speaker at the program, where he shared his memories of the attack on American soil 11 years ago and how it encouraged him to join the Army after he graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Nipomo, Calif.
"Giving back to the community makes you a better person," said Oliver, a native of San Antonio, Texas who has been an active participant of BOSS for more than two years. "Sept. 11 is a day I will always remember, and this ceremony shows children [American] history and patriotism."
Oliver and many other service members took the oath to serve overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan in response to the terrorist attacks. After retuning home, many soldiers volunteer to give back to their local community and encouraged the future heroes of America.
"It's important for children to see the people who sacrifice so much to protect this country, and it's just as important for Soldiers to give back to the community," said Oliver. "Participating in this program shows our selfless service. I think the children see us as heroes because of the familiarity of the uniform, both at home and in the community."
Dr. Jose Espinoza, superintendent of Schools, from Houston, Texas, shared his sentiment for the military and civilian first responders saying, "This is a day our country will never forget because of the heroes that helped on that day, and they have a special place in my heart."