Students honor Sept. 11
Monday, 24 September 2012 by Matthew Girard
Tuesday was a special day for Sparta Elementary as students celebrated "Patriot Day" with military, fire, police and EMT personnel from around the area.
For the second consecutive year, the students of Sparta honored those who serve and remembered those lost in the 9/11 attacks with a walk around the school for 911 seconds.
The annual event was started by counselor Tiffany Rathbun last year to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the staff decided to do it again this year.
The walk consisted of students greeting, high-fiving and shaking the hands of service personnel stationed around the school grounds along with the placing of flags in the ground to spell out "U-S-A."
Sparta principal Amy Armstrong said the ceremony was expanded a little this year.
"We thought we would just continue the tradition," Armstrong said of the walk. "This year, we added a little extra with having our announcements in the cafeteria to talk to them about what Patriot Day was."
Members of Sparta's adopted unit from Fort Hood, 38th Cavalry, and members of the 479 FA Brigade participated in the event along with members of the Belton Police Department, Fire Department and EMT.
"It's great to know that you are appreciated," said 479 FA Bridage Capt. Phil Rathbun. "Knowing that people are appreciating what you are doing is a great thing."
Before the event, fifth grader Sierra Schoepf and others cleaned up the school grounds and then helped the younger children plant their flags.
"It's really important to me because most of my family has been in the military and I appreciated everything they've done for me," Schoepf said.
Although the children of Sparta were born after the 9/11 attacks, Tiffany Rathbun said it's important for them to understand why Patriot Day is significant.
"It's a way to connect them because this age group was not alive when it happened," Tiffany said. "It's a day for them to learn about it and show their pride."
Armstrong said the teachers prepared their students for the event with lesson plans involving the attacks to help them understand what the days was about.
"They don't know anything different than the world we live in now, so we use some different web sites and books to help them understand what the event is," Armstrong said.
Sparta wasn't the only school to commemorate the anniversary, as others observed the day is a moment of silence before the day started.
Tiffany Rathbun said the remembrance of the 9/11 attacks is important for the future.
"I think that's important that they know what happened and where we can go from here," Rathbun said. "It's a great character lesson."