Heroes and hugs fill children’s observance of 9/11

Washington City Elementary third-grade choir sings at "Hero Day" assembly, Washington City, Utah, Sept 11, 2018 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY — Washington City Fire Department proved this morning that all superheroes do not wear capes when they sprang into action at a ceremony meant to honor the efforts of first responders and public servants in a Patriot Day celebration.

The 16th annual “Hero Day” assembly was held on the front lawn of Washington City elementary this morning as an observance of local heroes that sacrifice every day in the line of duty and service.

Washington City fireman passes flag to student at “Hero Day” assembly, Washington City, Utah, Sept 11, 2018 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

Sitting beneath a tattered American flag that flew for 60 days above the fallen Twin Towers in New York City, members of Washington City police, fire, animal control, code enforcement, public works, council members Jeff Turek and Kolene Granger,  local veterans and Utah Sen. Don Ipson were in attendance.

Kurt Ivie, fifth-grade teacher and former Washington City councilman, began the tradition the year after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in to honor all first responders and let them know Washington City understands how difficult the job is.

The primary reason for the event is to teach kids respect for law enforcement and authorities. Ivie said students need to learn in the simplest terms that sacrifice and dedication is important, but being  a hero is nothing more than service.

Young girl welcoming Vietnam veteran to “Hero Day” assembly, Washington City, Utah, Sept 11, 2018 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

“It’s a tremendous amount of dedication, personal sacrifice and personal danger in a lot of cases to become a hero,” he said.  “We teach them to respect, you teach a generation to respect and then it can carry forward.”

Ipson, who has family with Utah Highway Patrol, said law enforcement is very dear to his heart and delivered the morning invocation. He offered a blessing for attendees saying “we are thankful for the freedoms and the safety that we enjoy.”

Attendees were serenaded throughout the morning with teachers and students singing “Fly Like An Eagle,” “Proud to be an American” and a rousing patriotic version of “God Bless America” that had many in the audience on their feet and joining in the chorus. The third-grade choir closed the assembly with the song, “We’re Looking for Some Heroes.”

Utah Sen. Don Ipson delivers invocation at “Hero Day” assembly, Washington City, Utah, Sept 11, 2018 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

Tonya Jurgens, whose daughter is in the choir, said the kids need to know what first responders go through in life.

“It is important that kids understand what these people give up,” she said.

Halfway through the assembly, unaware to most of the crowd, the fire department came to aid a student in need of medical attention and rushed the young girl into the building for care.

“They were faithful, they were prepared and they were ready to help,” Ivie said.

The highlight of the morning was the presentation of class writing contest winners and readings from their essays on, “How I Can Find the Hero In Me.”

Student reads winning essay at “Hero Day” assembly, Washington City, Utah, Sept 11, 2018 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

A few students were able to take the podium with personal stories of heroism in their lives, including one who recited a poem.

Washington City Police Chief Jim Keith said his department is grateful for the opportunity to serve the crowd and the rest of the community members.

“Not everybody gets a chance to do this, not everybody wants to do this and we understand that, ” Keith said. “We look forward to this every year.”

As authorities prepared to leave, students were able to select a hero of their choice and deliver their essay in person, and give a moment of appreciation to people that choose to selflessly serve the public.

As Ivie is close to retirement, it may be one of the last years he assists with organizing the event, but he is positive it will carry on for many years to come or guarantees he will be back.

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Email: apinckney@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

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