ROCKLEDGE | September 10, in anticipation of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York City’s Twin Towers, students, staff, and clergy of St. Mary Catholic School raised a flag and honored first responders past and present. The 9/11 remembrance ceremony recalled the many lives lost and celebrated the daily selfless acts of service of Brevard County’s first responders and healthcare professionals.
Students wrote letters of gratitude and presented gift bags to approximately 75 honorees in attendance. Eighth grade student Emily S. wrote, “I want to thank you for everything you do for our country. I have never been so grateful for people that risk their lives every day to protect our beautiful country.”
There was an outpouring of appreciation among the St. Mary community. Donning her patriotic t-shirt, second grader Ruby C., addressed the honorees saying, “You are a blessing and we give thanks to God for you. You exemplify for us, and for the next generation, the values of courage, service, and commitment.” Eighth grade student, Brennan T., said with gratitude, “When we find ourselves in trouble or need some help, our first call is to a first responder. Dispatchers, firefighters, police officers, paramedics, EMTs, doctors, nurses, the military, and healthcare workers are the real heroes.”
Among the guests were various healthcare professionals, Brevard County deputies and Sheriff Wayne Ivey, Thomas J. Vogt, a World War II Veteran, Rockledge City Councilman Mike Cadore, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and EMTs. Parochial Administrator Father Juan Osorno and Parochial Vicar Father Mark Librizzi led the prayer service.
Prayers included the safety and well-being of first responders and healthcare workers; for clarity and good decision making in the face of adversity; and for peace as they deal daily with hurt and enter into the pain and suffering of others. They also prayed for compassion and kindness for those whose lives are broken, for the ability to stand strong and be filled with courage, for strength when they are weary, and for awareness that the Lord is continually with them wherever they are.
With Mother Teresa of Kolkata’s quote in mind, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples,” second graders focused on the impact the actions of these men and women have in the world.
In her address of appreciation to first responders and healthcare professionals, Suzanne Strain, 2nd grade teacher, stated, “We have seen an amazing ripple effect of goodness spread out across the world because of the people standing before us. You are the stone thrown into the water, probably not even realizing or aware of the long lasting and far-reaching effects of your service. We offer our appreciation to you, hoping you can see the effects of the ripple you’ve created in the faces of these children and our St. Mary’s community.”
By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic, September 14, 2021