At Lime Street Elementary School, this year's Patriot Day assembly was as much educational as it was commemorative.


"Today, we're here to remember and celebrate the thousands of Americans, both living and dead, who became our heroes 10 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001," Principal Carol Whitton told the crowd.


Many of the students in attendance Monday were not yet born when the 2001 attacks took place, and few of those who were can recall them.


"For those of us who remember, it was a sad day in our country's history," Whitton said. "It was also the day where we realized how fortunate we are to live in this great land, the United States of America."


A moment of silence at the beginning of the assembly was punctuated by the sounds of students shushing one another.


Three students read or had read for them, for the shyer ones short essays on "Why I'm Proud to be an American."


"I believe our country keeps me safe because the military protects us," Skyler Rousseau-Smith told the crowd of almost 800 students. "I am proud of how my country stands up for itself because millions of people risk their lives for us. I am proud that I can make my own decisions in the future when I vote. I'm proud to be an American because we get to experience freedom thanks to the soldiers who fight for us."


The school also recognized military personnel associated with the Lime Street community, including parents, siblings, neighbors and children. Some, unable to attend in person, were present in the form of photos held up by family members.


Representatives of the student government presented local sheriff's and fire department officials with letters of thanks written by the students.


"On behalf of the students of Lime Street Elementary School, we thank you for all you do," Whitton said.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.