Butler County school holds large 9/11 ceremonies to reflect on anniversary

In one of the largest area school ceremonies Friday hundreds of Fairfield students saw the unveiling of a new American flag in front of their school as part of an annual 9/11 commemorative ceremony.

But, befitting the solemn nature of Sunday’s anniversary of the largest terrorist attack on America, Fairfield South Elementary’s new flag was hoisted only halfway up the school’s flag pole to honor the nearly three thousand citizens and New York City first responders killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

Some of Fairfield’s first responders, including city police and fire personnel with a fire truck, were on hand for the morning ceremony outside the school as were the Fairfield mayor and superintendent for the 10,000-student school system.

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“It’s a moment in history who for these kids, who were not born yet, will learn more about,” said Fairfield Schools Spokeswoman Gina Gentry-Fletcher.

“And it’s a great opportunity for them to witness and honor some of our local first responders and to learn to have the respect for them they should have,” said Gentry-Fletcher.

South Fairfield Elementary Principal Jason Hussel told the assembled students and others “we are gathered here to honor those who lost their lives and to make sure South will never forget the innocent people and heroes who lost their lives that day.”

Hussel also took the annual ceremony as the occasion to lower an old, faded American flag and replace it with a new version. The new flag is also part of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the school, which offers kindergarten through fifth grade to more than 750 students.

After a moment of silence and reciting the pledge of allegiance, he told students they should know of the local heroes – first responders – of their city’s police and fire departments who stand ready to protect them and others.

“They take personal risks everyday to protect all of us.”

Among the school parents and local community residents who joined in watching the ceremony was Butch Miller.

“I think it’s very important they learn their history behind them as they go forward,” said Miller. “And to learn about the respect we give to certain members of our society for their putting their lives on the line for us.”

Walt Squire, a former teacher at South Elementary, lives in the neighborhood and brought his young granddaughter along to watch the ceremony and pay their respects.

“This is always such a great ceremony that I like coming back each year,” said the retired educator.

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