First responders and military personnel gathered with students in the Fort Defiance community on Wednesday morning for a Patriot Day memorial ceremony to remember those who were injured or died during the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001.

The event aimed to thank the guests and help children develop a deeper appreciation and citizenship.

“I hope they take away an appreciation for others, compassion and a pride in themselves, others and the community,” said Fonda Morris, principal of Clymore.

Law enforcement, fire, rescue and military personnel — both active and retired —were honored at Clymore Elementary School. Students from Clymore, Stewart Middle and Fort Defiance High School participated in the event.

Outside, the group gathered at the flag pole to say the “Pledge of Allegiance” together and joined the Fort Defiance High School band for “The Star Spangled Banner.”

After, Clymore students lined the hallway as the first responders and military members walked through. The halls were full of applause, hugs and high-fives.

“It was a very special event for all of us,” said Sheriff Donald Smith of the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office. “All of the kids from different schools coming together in honor of first responders and veterans — it really humbles you.”

The Patriot Day ceremony is a tradition at Clymore. They’ve held the ceremony since 2003 and had the parade the past five years. Joan Kenney, retired music teacher, began the program in 2003.

Clymore’s Principal Fonda Morris spoke at the event.

“We see a lot of police officers, fire fighters, veterans and rescue personnel,” she said of the attendance at the event. “They work so hard every day to protect us and our freedom. We are so appreciative for what you do for us every day.”

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