CANTON, S.D. (KELO) — As the country commemorates the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this weekend, the Canton School District has a unique way of remembering what happened.
Canton High School and Canton Middle School students watched Friday as a Freedom Flag rose on campus. As Noelle Bonjour with the American Legion Auxiliary explained, the elements of the flag represent different facets of 9/11. Its five blocks on the left stand for the Pentagon as well as freedom protected. The red stripes in the middle stand for the World Trade Center towers and the lives lost there.
“Very awe-inspiring to watch that flag go up, and I smiled to myself a little bit while the band was playing the national anthem, and that breeze picked up, and only the Freedom Flag caught the breeze,” Bonjour said.
Among the musicians playing the anthem is Canton High School senior and student council president Kate Stahl.
“I think it’s very important to keep this legacy alive to the next generation so we can keep on remembering what happened,” Stahl said.
Bonjour works with the Freedom Flag Foundation and led Friday’s ceremony.
“To be perfectly honest, it was very overwhelming,” Bonjour said. “As I was preparing for that yesterday and today, I kept thinking that, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s been 20 years, how has it been 20 years already.'”
9/11 happened two decades ago, but the flag flying at Canton High School is also about the present and the future. Bonjour says the event was about education. High school and middle school students today have no recollection of an event that transformed a world they never knew.
“We were trying to do with that is teach these kids about 9/11, what this horrific attack that happened before they were even born,” Bonjour said.
Friday afternoon’s event was about what we can see, but also about what we can hear, too. ‘Taps’ rang out along with the national anthem.
“Of course, with the ‘Taps,’ that always gets to me,” Bonjour said. “I don’t think I can listen to ‘Taps’ without tearing up a little bit.”