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Cape schools hold 9-11 remembrance events

By Staff | Sep 10, 2011

Students from Oasis Elementary School, Oasis Middle School and Oasis High School gathered as one body under their new airnasium Friday morning as they remembered the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The special ceremony included songs from the elementary, middle and high school choir, along with students reading poems about the events that have come to be called 9-11.

Members from the Cape Coral Police Department, SWAT team and Cape Coral Fire Department also were in attendance Friday morning.

“We did it for them,” said Dr. Lee Bush, administrator for the City of Cape Coral Charter School Authority about CCPD, CCFD and SWAT.

A few times throughout the ceremony the students were told to yell thank you as loud as they could for those in uniform who attended the event Friday.

Bush said he wanted the students to know more than the abstract images from television concerning 9-11, which is why the ceremony was held. He said he wanted the students to see real police officers and firefighter to understand that these are the heroes of our city.

Cape Coral Fire Chief William Van Helden thanked officials for inviting them to the ceremony.

“Thank you for taking the time to honor those who gave their lives 10 years ago,” Van Helden told the students.

He told the students that he believes that we have the greatest county in the world due to the challenging times the country was faced with 10 years ago. Van Helden went on to say we learned who we, as a country, could trust and sometimes could not trust because of the events of 9-11.

“We learned we could trust those who wore uniforms,” he said about firefighters and police officer, along with those in the armed forces.

Van Helden told the students that first responders are his heroes.

He finished his speech by talking to the students about what they should do when they are frightened.

“We still do the right thing when we are scared,” Van Helden said. “We are called to operate in spite of our fears.”

Oasis Elementary School Principal Steven Cook thought the event was good for his students.

“It is an awesome time for them to get caught in the moment of remembering,” he said, adding that the ceremony taught them how to pay tribute properly.

Second grade teacher Kim Lucas thought the ceremony was great because her two children were able to see their daddy as a hero. He works for the Cape Coral SWAT Team. She said it was nice for the children to thank the local firefighters and police officers.

Her class, along with the rest of the three schools, made the fire department and police department thank you cards and a huge banner with their hand prints to thank them for their service.

Police Department Captain David Newlan said the thank you cards meant a lot to all of them. He said they will bring the cards back to the police department and put them on display.

Newlan said he thought the ceremony was excellent and the support they received was wonderful.

“We know they believe in us and support us,” he said, adding it helps make their job worthwhile.

The ceremony held a special meaning for Anibal Maldonado, a parent of two boys who attend Oasis Elementary and middle school. He said he moved to the area in August 2002 from New York because of the after-effects of 9-11.

Ten years ago Maldonado went about his day as every other day as he dropped off his son at daycare and wife at work before heading to work himself. Something told him not to go to work that Sept. 11, so he decided to call in.

He worked on elevators three blocks away from the World Trade Center.

Shortly after he called in, his wife called him and told him that something bad was happening.

Maldonado lost a co-worker that day.

That experience taught him to learn how to love more and be good to each other, along with never giving up on hope.

“Things could get better,” he said.

At Mariner High School Friday, the Triton JROTC Battalion also held a memorial service commemorating the tragic events of 9-11.

Their ceremony took place at 8:46 a.m. The time was selected to observe the exact moment that the first plane hit the World Trade Center North Tower. During the ceremony the Cadets paid tribute to the victims of 9-11 by placing a wreath at the base of the flag pole to honor their memory.

Assisting in the wreath laying were Mr. and Mrs. David Phillips. Mr. Phillips is a Mariner High School history teacher, and Mrs. Phillips is a School District of Lee County speech pathologist who works with special needs students at Mariner High and other schools. The Phillips are the parents of 1st Lt. Erik Phillips, who was recently injured in Afghanistan. Lt. Phillips is a 2005 graduate of Mariner High School and former cadet in the Triton Battalion. He is recovering at a military hospital in Texas.