FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Events held this weekend marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11. In Fresno County, the 9/11 memorial ceremony was a time, to honor, remember, and educate.
“Never forget” was the heartfelt message at the weekend event to honor and remember the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attack on the United States.
California 9/11 Memorial board members also intended for their local event to serve as a teaching opportunity for Fresno County students.
“We want the students of today to think about the people that sacrificed for us every day by going into fires and going into crisis situations,” said board member Kathryn Catania.
The 9/11 Memorial board, in partnership with the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, sponsors an art and poetry contest to honor first responders.
“I believe it is something that we should be remembering and sharing with students and young people that weren’t around at the time,” said teacher Tommy Martinez. “It’s our obligation as educators to really recognize the first responders.”
Students on school campuses signed up months ago to participate in the contest: 13-year-old Mailyze Arellano at Glacier Point Middle School was one of those students.
“I decided to participate in it because I just saw how badly people’s lives were affected by this,” said Mailyze.
Mailyze said she did a lot of research and wanted her poem to reflect how people felt that day. She one of the finalists in the poetry competition. She and the winners of the art, poetry, and logo contest were all honored at the 9/11 memorial event, expressing a desire that their work has an impact.
“I want people to take away a sense of pride in their country,” said poetry grand prize winner Isabella Catania. “I want people to take away a sense of patriotism, I want people to take away a sense of community from my poem – and from all these other amazing entries.”