EL PASO, Texas (9/12/2012) - More than 200 children adorned in
patriotic apparel at the Chester Jordan Elementary School learned
about the tragedy of 9/11 as they participated in the 2012 Sept. 11
Commemorative Program on the national day of remembrance, here.
Sgt. Muhammad Sheikh, president of Better Opportunities for
Single Soldiers, and fellow soldiers greet children at the September 11th Commemorative
Program at the Chester Jordan Elementary School on Sept. 11, 2012 in
El Paso, Texas. Photo by Army Sgt. Ida Irby
Spc. Mario J. Oliver, an chaplain assistant, gathered 45 of his
comrades from the 177th Armored Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team,
to join the soldiers in the Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers
program at the commemorative program. These service members were
among many men and women honored because of their service to America
to include: veterans, city first responders, police, firemen, and
border patrol and custom agents.
The commemorative program helped
educate young Americans about the tragedy 11 years ago that claimed
more than 3,000 lives on American soil.
“Hi soldier,” the
smiling children shouted. Many children know stories of super
heroes, however local first responders and service members are real
heroes in the community that children can look up to. Children in
grades K-4 were exited to have U.S. service members in their school
to share lunch, read a book and play at break time.
“We gathered here to remember and commemorate an
important day in our U.S. history,” said Jesse Sepulveda,
principal at Chester Jordan as he thanked the honored guests
for all that they do. The ceremony included five guest
speakers, a high school color guard, and fire truck on
Sgt. Muhammad Sheikh, BOSS president, helps
soldiers get involved in the local community as well as,
leisure activities, recreational activities and improving
the quality of life for single Soldiers on Fort Bliss.
Sheikh was an honored guest speaker at the program, where he
shared his memories of the attack on American soil 11 years
ago and how it encouraged him to join the Army after he
graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Nipomo, Calif.
“Giving back to the community makes you a better
person,” said Oliver, a native of San Antonio, Texas who has
been an active participant of BOSS for more than two years.
“Sept. 11 is a day I will always remember, and this ceremony
shows children [American] history and patriotism.”
Oliver and many other service members took the oath to serve
overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan in response to the terrorist
attacks. After retuning home, many soldiers volunteer to
give back to their local community and encouraged the future
heroes of America.
“It's important for children to
see the people who sacrifice so much to protect this
country, and it's just as important for Soldiers to give
back to the community,” said Oliver. “Participating in this
program shows our selfless service. I think the children see
us as heroes because of the familiarity of the uniform, both
at home and in the community.”
Dr. Jose Espinoza,
superintendent of Schools, from Houston, Texas, shared his
sentiment for the military and civilian first responders
saying, “This is a day our country will never forget because
of the heroes that helped on that day, and they have a
special place in my heart.”
More photos available below
By Army Sgt. Ida Irby
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