On Thursday, September 8, 2022, the Heritage Builders Club held a 9/11 remembrance day memorial at the Heritage School in Phelan. The commemoration took place in the morning at the school’s courtyard near the patriotic Lady Liberty statue, which was dedicated in 2015 by the Heritage Builders Club. Todd Anton, teacher and club advisor, led the memorial and organized the event. SJUSD Superintendent, Ryan Holman, was in attendance and praised Anton’s dedication to honoring those who served, including veterans and fallen soldiers, saying, “Todd really is a wonderful example of people who understand that freedom is not free.”
The Serrano High School Cadet Corps opened the memorial ceremony by presenting the colors, followed by the pledge of allegiance. The American flag was carried by Serrano Cadet Corps Senior Hazel Collins, who also happened to be a Heritage alum and was a member of the Heritage Builders Club when she attended the school four years ago. Collins mentioned how honored she was to be back and part of the memorial stating, “I realize how lucky I am and how fortunate we are to live in a county with freedom.”
Thirteen American flags were also displayed around Lady Liberty, representing the 13 American lives lost during the 2021 suicide bombing at the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan. Each flag was accompanied by a picture of a service member killed in action, and Anton provided a brief bio for each fallen soldier. He concluded by saying, “They’re still with us, as long as we remember them.”
A unique flag of honor was proudly held by Heritage student Gracie Hunt which displayed the names of all the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack. Anton then presented Heritage School Principle Debbie Arbizu with an American flag flown over Ground Zero from the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York. The flag will be on display at the school and will help students, staff, and visitors to remember that tragic day in American history.
Students throughout the SJUSD also celebrated Patriot’s Day on Friday, September 9, by wearing red, white, and blue. Pinon Mesa Middle School held a school-wide Patriots Day Assembly to celebrate and honor firefighters, law enforcement, veterans, and service members. Serrano High School remembered 9/11 by placing American flags on campus and displaying pictures of each of the New York firefighters who lost their lives during the terrorist attack. Even the Serrano High School football team paid tribute to the fallen heroes during the Friday night game when the team ran onto the field proudly waving American flags before the kickoff.