Country embraced patriotic fervor quickly following terrorists’ attacks

Julie Dominguez with Military Families of America makes remember 9/11 yellow ribbons at her home in Palisade.

Within days of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, much of the country swathed itself in red, white and blue.

Lapel-button flags were suddenly on sale almost everywhere.

Red, white and blue ribbons bloomed on the sides of cars, as did flags flying from the windows, held aloft by plastic posts cleverly designed to fit between window and door frame.

Old Glory flew from front porches, and bunting burst back into style.

“Everything was so patriotic,” said Julie Dominguez, who founded Military Families of America. “And now it’s slowly being forgotten.”

Perhaps in some ways, time has dulled the patriotic urge, but the flame kindled in the pyre of the Twin Towers, Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field has hardly been snuffed.

The students and staff at Scenic Elementary School on the Redlands keep the flame alive each week and each anniversary of the attacks, Principal Doug Levinson said.

The tradition stems from the anniversary commemoration in 2002, when the school conducted a small flag ceremony.

From there, Scenic Elementary conducted weekly ceremonies, with faculty and students gathering on Friday afternoons at the flagpole in good weather, in the gym during bad weather.

On the anniversary of the attacks, Scenic Elementary conducts a morning flagpole commemoration that runs about half an hour.

Police and fire departments are invited to participate, and military members who are relatives of Scenic’s students or staff are recognized.

It’s a challenge to deal with an event that poses a series of complex emotions for the audience — kindergartners to fifth-graders.

“It’s always a struggle for me to come up with the right words,” Levinson said.

“I try to focus on the patriotic side of it.”

And part of that is reminding his students, parents, teachers and guests that the students are in school to become well-educated citizens with long memories, Levinson said, adding, “We can never let this thing be forgotten.”


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