RCS Remembers 9-11 and Honors First Responders, Military
Submitted by Teresa Hendren in RCS Highlights on September 15, 2021
By: Mr. Bruce Johnson
Patriots Day Assembly is an annual program at Redwood Christian Schools dedicated to remembering the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks which changed our nation forever. On the 20th Anniversary of 9-11, RCS once again gathered to remember and recognize the sacrifice first responders and their families paid on 9-11, as well as those lives lost since then. We are so thankful for our first responders and military servicemen and women, who continue to protect all of us both at home and overseas.
Last Friday, September 10, Mrs. Lynn Conley led her and Mrs. Laura Vanegas’ third grade classes, in honoring not only our military and those who gave their lives on September 11, 2001, but also first responders, who risk their lives daily. Mrs. Conley’s brother, Will Seuis, died while serving as an Oakland Police Officer in 2004.
Students are taught to honor first responders (including law enforcement, fire, and EMT) as well as those who serve or have served in our Armed Forces. This is not taught passively, but with the purpose to ensure that our students remember that their lives are safer due to the sacrifices of those who serve us.
The Patriots Day Assembly opened with a welcome by Mrs. Conley followed by the Flag Ceremony from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW Post 9601), American Legion and two Army Recruiters, followed by students leading all present in the Pledge to the American Flag, Pledge to the Christian Flag, Pledge to the Bible, Prayer, the singing of our National Anthem and posting of the colors.
Leading the Pledge to the American Flag was Paul Huitsing, and the Christian Flag was Jordyn Graham. Leading the Pledge to the Bible was Ella Isschiki, and Micah Chock led in prayer. Mrs. Conley led everyone in singing our National Anthem. The poem “Take A Moment” by Joanna Fuchs was read by the third grade classes; bringing our focus onto everyone who has and is protecting each of us. “Thank You for Your Service,” written by RCS Music Teacher Beverly Mayne, was sung showing our continued appreciation for those who protect and serve us.
Law enforcement officers from the Oakland Police Department where Mrs. Conley’s brother Will served, as well as the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, and the Alameda County Fire Department, also attended and were recognized for their dedication and service to our community.
Mrs. Conley reminded all present why it was so important to always remember those who sacrificed their lives for us, and those to serve us today. All the military branches were represented (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard) and recognized all present for their military and service as a First Responder.
Local Heroes were honored by Student Rebecca Seymour, who read a tribute to the United States Military Service Members in honor of her cousin, and student Noli Dawit read a tribute to Firefighters, and student Madison Jones, daughter of Oakland Police Officer Trevelyon Jones, read a tribute to those who serve us in law enforcement. Mrs. Conley led everyone present singing God Bless America.
Dr. Al Hearne, Superintendent, closed the assembly by thanking event coordinators, servicemen and women. He also reminded the students that when they see someone in uniform, they should go up to them and thank them for helping to keep them safe, and prayed for our first responders and those who serve us in the military. Finally, the assembly ended with the VFW playing “Taps.”
After the assembly, our honorees – veterans and those currently serving in our military as well as first responders – remained and shared time by visiting with the students in the parking lot. Students were excited to “ride” on Oakland Police Department motorcycles, get an up close look at an Alameda County Fire Engine, receive safety information, and pose for pictures with their new found heroes. Other organizations present distributed patriotic items and general information.
The leadership of RCS uses every opportunity to “instill a Spirit of Patriotism” (one of the school’s Core Values) by fostering a “Love for our Great Country,” remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live in the greatest country on Earth, as well as those who serve us every day as our First Responders.
Redwood Christian Elementary Principal Megan Sinisi stated “I am so proud of our students and the respect they continue to show for our First Responders and military service members, both past and present. Nurturing a Love of Country and modeling appreciation for everyone in uniform for our children is the responsibility of all of us.”
Photo credit: Teresa Hendren, Amber Warner