Cadets from the Bobcat Battalion, first responders, and members of the Beaver Area High School band and choir gathered to commemorate the lives that were lost September 11, 2001, for the 20 year anniversary of the event that changed modern history.
None of the middle and high school students attending the ceremony were alive 20 years ago, but the events of that day shaped the lives those students now live whether they realize it or not.
The ceremony included a guest speaker, the posting of the colors, and the singing of both God Bless America and the Star Spangled Banner.
First responders from different area fire departments, police departments, emergency departments, and military personnel attended the ceremony.
All Beaver Area JROTC cadets, ranging from eighth graders to seniors, were dressed in ASUs, or their dress blues uniforms.
As students and staff arrived at school that morning, they made their way to the bell tower entrance to view the ceremony, and the start-of-school bells were silenced until the ceremony ended.
The ceremony began with the Invocation presented by Cadet First Lieutenant Aiden Doedyns.
The Honor Guard Team, led by Cadet First Lieutenant Caleb Starkey, posted the colors at half staff while Taps were played.
After Taps, the Battalion saluted the flag as the band and chorus performed the National Anthem.
Battalion Commander, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Erin Bell then introduced guest speaker Vice Principal Sean Snowden who spoke on the impact of 9/11 on himself and the country.
Vice Principal Snowden said about the ceremony: “It was very nice. It’s always nice to come together and remember that day, and I enjoy it a lot because I was involved with it. I was actually working on a flight.”
“I don’t think I mentioned this in my speech but I was actually in the same airspace as flight 93, which was the aircraft that went down in Shanksville,” recalled Vice Principal Snowden about that fateful day.
Mr. Snowden, who is also an ex-Marine, went on to state, “So, I remember that day pretty well because of the events that took place. But what I think equally important to remember too was how everyone got together and supported one another along with the first responders and our men and women in the military. So when we get together like that it’s nice because it reminds me of that time when everybody was doing that. And I’m hopeful that we can get back to doing that again, considering the pandemic we’re in. So having that sense of pride for our country and being together with one another and respecting each other and each other’s opinions is something I think we should always strive for.”
Prior to Vice Principal Snowden’s speech, the high school choir, led by Mrs. Susan Metelsky, performed “God Bless America.”
To conclude the ceremony, Doedyns gave the closing prayer, and then the cadets marched and shook the hands of the attending first responders.
The weather was perfect for the ceremony and Vice Principal Snowden recalled that “Twenty years ago was just like today, but maybe a bit warmer.”
Following the ceremony refreshments were offered to all the first responders in attendance.