Students at Atha Road Elementary and Walnut Grove Elementary schools weren’t born when terrorists in hijacked planes attacked the United States on 9/11. And now that the tragedy has reached a 20-year mark, the reality is many parents of today’s young children were just kids themselves in 2001.

Which is why local educators use that dark day in modern American history as a poignant teaching moment.

“This is something as they get older they’re going to be reading about,” Atha Road Elementary School Principal Michael Youngblood said. “It will be in the history books for years to come.”

Atha Road Elementary held a Patriot’s Day celebration on Friday. Earlier in the week, the school’s 837 students planted 2,977 flags on the school’s front lawn. Youngblood said that is the number of lives lost on 9/11.

Walnut Grove Elementary School observed 9/11 by holding an American Heroes Day on Friday. Students dressed as their favorite everyday heroes: doctors, nurses, fire fighters, police officers and other community frontline workers.

“Everyday heroes helped (on 9/11), and they help every day,” said Walnut Grove Assistant Principal Haley Herrick.

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