Under threatening skies, Stevens Creek Elementary School's 800 pupils watched as the American flag was raised to full-staff Monday.
"This is a really special day for us," said Hannah Chaly, a fifth-grader who was one of four selected to recite verses in praise of Old Glory. "I'm glad to be a part of something so important."
Stevens Creek Principal Michelle Paschal assembled representatives from the sheriff's office, school safety office and Martinez Fire Department to be a part of the ceremony. Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Derick Detjen, who served three tours of duty in Vietnam, raised the flag to the top of the pole.
"A week ago, we announced that we were lowering the flag to half-staff because of the loss and tragedy in New York, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania," Mrs. Paschal told her pupils. "Now our president has told us to raise our flag and be strong and proud Americans."
Mrs. Paschal urged the children to think about the servicemen, firefighters and police officers who work to keep the nation safe.
"I feel proud," said Brian Carter, a fifth-grader who was also chosen to participate in the program. "I love my country. I think the people who did this should be punished and brought to justice," he said, referring to the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks.
Reach Melissa Hall at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 113, or firstname.lastname@example.org.