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9/11 ceremony honors victims, veterans, and volunteers

JROTC students present the flag for the pledge and national anthem.

JROTC students present the flag for the pledge and national anthem.

Jordan Sergeant

JROTC students present the flag for the pledge and national anthem.

Jordan Sergeant

Jordan Sergeant

JROTC students present the flag for the pledge and national anthem.

9/11 ceremony honors victims, veterans, and volunteers

Although 9/11 falls on a weekend this year, THS still found a way to honor the lives lost on the tragic day.

On Friday, Sept. 9, students and somberness rushed through the gymnasium doors; bodies pushing and shoving trying to reserve just three inches of bleacher for themselves.

“I can clearly remember where I was and what I was doing [that day],” Mr. Boles stated in his introduction to the student body.

The ceremony proceeded with Sergeant Major Royall’s order to the drill team, “Forward march!”

With this, students were called to silence, JROTC to attention, and at once – stillness is broken by the first step of the drill team’s 12 sets of polished, black shoes. The drills presented were clean and precise.

Thereafter, students stood in honor of the pledge and the national anthem.

Colonel David King gave a speech regarding Tunstall and its patriotism. He announced that the large flag presented during the pledge will be hung on a chosen wall in the gym very soon.

“Here at Tunstall, we respect our country, veterans, and protectors,” King said.

King believes that education is a key component in remembering the tragedy of 9/11. “If ignorance is our enemy, then teachers are our first line of defense.”

King invited faculty who have formerly served in the United States military to come to the middle of the gym for everyone to honor. He then invited students whose parents or siblings are currently enlisted or have been in the military previously. Children of police officers, fire firefights, and emergency responders were then asked to join those who have served on the gymnasium floor to be recognized.

“When asked to come down, I felt nervous at first and I do not really know why, but once others got up and came down with me I felt comfortable,” said junior Haley Ashworth.

“I felt proud of my father’s service,” stated Ashworth.

After everyone returned to their seats, Tunstall Fire Department Chief, Kenneth Hudson was introduced. Hudson began volunteering at the fire department when he was 16-years-old and eventually worked his way up to chief of the department.

“Some people think that [we] are crazy to risk our lives, but we love it – we are trained for it,” Hudson said.

“I’ll never forget 9/11, I was supposed to be in the Pentagon when the plane hit,” Hudson informed those listening.

Luckily, Hudson was at a naval base in Norfolk at the time. He was locked and under protection for six hours.

“[We] have acts of terror because terrorists do not like what the US stands for – freedom,” Hudson concluded.

The ceremony came to a close with a moment of silence, followed by senior Brandon Warren and junior Jacob Moss playing taps.

In addition to the 9/11 ceremony, Tunstall has recently added a Freedom Shrine of documents important to American democracy that can be viewed in the F-wing hallway.  Plans are also being made to add the We the People banner, created last year by the art club, to the front entrance of the school.

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