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Teaching them to never forget: Rocky River Elementary students take part in Patriot Day parade
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Teaching them to never forget: Rocky River Elementary students take part in Patriot Day parade

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With homemade cards and signs, students at Rocky River Elementary lined the school’s campus Friday during a Patriot Day parade held to honor first responders, police officers and firefighters one day before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Patriot Day is held annually on Sept. 11 to commemorate the lives of those who died in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Virginia and those who died when the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania.

The parade came about after Trena Morrison’s third grade class discussed ways to honor community heroes, said Rocky River Principal Chuck LaRusso. The idea was met with a round of applause at a subsequent staff meeting and the event quickly took off, LaRusso said.

“Our students at Rocky River are learning about how people can work together to have a positive impact on their community, including learning about the individuals that help keep our community a safe place to live,” said LaRusso. “When coupled with our character education topic of kindness, organizing a parade to honor and remember those individuals seemed like the perfect thing to do.”

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A long line of fire trucks, police vehicles and ambulances formed outside the school around 10 a.m. Friday and slowly drove past students who waved red, white and blue balloons and displayed homemade signs thanking them for their heroism. The school even wrote a poem to distribute to parade participants, Morrison said.

Although the elementary school students taking part in the parade weren’t born when the actual terrorist attacks happened, “We can certainly teach them to never forget,” Morrison said.

Third grade student A.J. Rodd, 8, whose father, a local firefighter, participated in the parade, said it was important to thank first responders because “It’s nice to do things to remember 9/11.”

Rodd and Morrison both said Rodd’s father responded to the terrorist attacks in NYC 20 years ago.

Classmate A’zuri Bagwell, 8, said she wanted to participate in the parade “to say thank you for helping the USA.”

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