By Sgt. Mary S. Katzenberger, 4IBCT Public AffairsSeptember 15, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - There are some places in America where the Pledge of Allegiance is still recited.
The words of the pact, penned more than a century ago, resounded vigorously before Lyman Hall Elementary School in Hinesville, Ga., Sept. 9, upon the lowering of the American and Georgia state flags to half-staff before kicking off the school's annual America Supports You Freedom Walk.
Lyman Hall students and teachers participate in the walk each year to commemorate 9/11 and to honor people who serve the community and the nation. Law enforcement officials, firefighters, first responders, local government representatives, school board officials, members of a military veterans' motorcycle club and parents were on hand to participate in the walk around the school's grounds.
Captain Scotty R. Maurer, squadron fire support officer for 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, addressed the youth from the lectern at the ceremony, and Soldiers from throughout the squadron partnered with students to raise the flags and lay a wreath at the base of the flagpole.
Once the ceremony was complete, the Soldiers led the student body and faculty on the walk. Some Soldiers held hands with the children while they walked as they honored those who have fallen and those who continue to serve.
Captain Maurer spoke to the students about the importance of remembering the past, and of the great significance of the present and the future.
"Who [here has] dreams and ambitions," Capt. Maurer asked the children. "Who here wants to do something big and important with their lives?"
Hands holding miniature American flags shot into the air, each child wanting to be the first to answer the officer's question.
Captain Maurer told the students that it is important for them to always keep their goals in sight and to respect law enforcement officials and firefighters, as they work to keep the community safe so that they--the students--are free and safe to pursue their goals.
"Everything [we stand] for starts here," Capt. Maurer said. "You all are the most important thing we have. It started with us... but it's going to end with all of you."
Ten-year-old Simon Steele, a fifth grader at Lyman Hall, helped hold the school's Freedom Walk banner during the event. He said the walk was fun.
"It was good so we can remember stuff that happened in the past," Steele said.
Fellow fifth-grader, Kaylor Mikell, 10-years-old, agreed.
"I think it was a fun way to remember 9/11 and what happened," Mikell said.
Private James A. Robbins, a Boston, Mass., native and a cavalry scout assigned to Trp. B, said he enjoyed doing something special for the children to help them remember 9/11, and added that events like the Freedom Walk are important.
"I feel like it'll get [the children] more involved in trying to help out our country and do good things," Pvt. Robbins said. "That way we can build toward a better tomorrow."