Schools focus on patriotism for 9/11
Fifth-grade students at C.C. Pinckney Elementary School drew pictures and wrote letters to New York firefighters and police that were published in this Oct. 4, 2001 issue of the Leader.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Many Americans will always remember where they were Sept.11, 2001, but there is a small part of the Fort Jackson community who will never know what life was like before that terrorist attack on home soil. Children at Fort Jackson's schools will rely on history lessons and recounted stories instead of their own memories on this 10th anniversary.

Schools on post will be focusing on the patriotic elements of Patriot Day instead of dwelling on the horrible events and lives lost.

"This is a perfect time for us to address patriotism with the students because of where we are and what we do here on Fort Jackson," said Sherry Schneider, principal of C.C. Pinckney Elementary School. "We also want to address tolerance so the students understand that the attacks were committed by a few individuals and not everyone from a certain place or in a certain group is a 'bad guy.'"

Both Pinckney and Pierce Terrace Elementary School staff members will be taking time to remember the sacrifices of the first responders and service members who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks.

"We will encourage our students to wear red, white and blue and focus on how important our firemen, police officers and Soldiers are in keeping us safe," said Brian Perry, Pierce Terrace principal.

Schneider said the school will observe a moment of silence and some of the older students will discuss in their classes how life has changed in the U.S. since the attacks.

"We've learned a lot as educators since the attacks. I was teaching at a school in Florida when it happened," Schneider said. "Back then we were so naïve and never imagined something like that would happen. We just turned on the news and the teachers watched the tragedy right along with the kids. I would never turn on the news like that for my students now. We know that we need to be more of a filter for our students."

Pinckney's guidance counselor, Debbie Magill, encourages parents to also use discretion at home during this time of remembrance.

"We will all be bombarded with footage since this is the 10th anniversary," Magill said. "I really hope that parents will go easy on the TV and limit what their children see of this and explain that this happened in the past; the attacks are not happening now."

Magill also suggested giving children a little bit of information about the historic day and just waiting to see what questions they have.

"Some children may not want to know everything at once because it is too much for them to deal with. Parents should just be there with lots of reassurance and (be) ready to listen to their children because they really do want to be heard," Magill said.

Magill said some children may wonder if the attacks will happen again, which provides an opportunity to emphasize the contributions of people on Fort Jackson.

"We don't know if anything like this will happen again, but we can talk about what a great job the parents and people on Fort Jackson do to keep our nation safe. Children should be reminded about the brave people we have all around us," Magill said.

Each of Fort Jackson's schools have counselors that will be on hand to help children who may have issues dealing with Patriot Day, deployments or separation from parents due to duty assignments.

"We are here to help, and I'm always looking for more mentors and volunteers to come spend time with the children because they deal with tough issues too," Magill said. "This is a great time for parents to sit down with their children and really be there to help them get through this. That's what the children are really looking for, quality time with their parents."

Those interested in becoming a mentor or volunteer can contact Debbie Magill at

Page last updated Thu September 8th, 2011 at 08:35