By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
September 18, 2003
Several schools in the Diocese of Sioux City took time out of their school
day to remember Sept. 11 and the events that surrounded that day.
Schools had varied types of ceremonies or prayer services that they used to
be in a prayerful mood for the day.
At Pocahontas Catholic in Pocahontas, Mary Ellen Nilson, the principal, took
prayers, songs, Scripture and petitions from the Internet to bring the school
together. The whole school was in attendance at the 15-minute ceremony. They
also sang God Bless America to end the ceremony.
"We talked about soul searching being done by everyone, and so they were
going to work especially hard," added Nilson. "That was going to be a
choice that they could make. To sort of offer that up for all those that lost
The students at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Fonda participated in a similar
"At petition time, any student or teacher who had someone in the war was
presented with a little flag," said Nilson, who is also the principal at
Our Lady of Good Counsel. "We ended with singing America the Beautiful. I
think this was really meaningful to the kids. You could tell just by the
expressions on their face that they were thinking of sad times. We didn't want
to leave them with that though."
The students in grades kindergarten through eighth at Sacred Heart School in
Sioux City had a flag ceremony. Their ceremony began in the school with a
Scripture reading over the PA system along with a prayer. The prayer talked
about what happened two years ago. Then the Our Father was recited and the whole
school headed to the parking lot in a silent procession and congregated around
"Father Collison said a prayer and a few words about patriotism and that
the people that have died for our country and the trust in God that we
have," said Marilyn Blum, the principal. "Every year we retire the
flag that flies over the school for that year. We put it with the other
ceremony. We did it last year, so we thought it was a good day to retire the old
flag and put up a new one."
The honor guard, Cub Scouts, came out and took down the old flag and folded
it. They then raised the new flag while the music teacher, Jeremy Mattheny, sang
the National Anthem. The students and teachers joined in with him. The Pledge of
Allegiance was said as it is recited every morning.
"We celebrated our great nation and went inside," said Blum.
"We left it at half-mast because it was asked by the president to do it
that way. So it was a really simple ceremony but we wanted to do it that way so
that it meant a little bit more to them."
There were a lot of the students' families that were involved in the attacks
in New York and the Iraq war on terrorism. Some of the fathers are just coming
home. One of the fathers was there for the ceremony.
"I think it ties us in with those people who fight for our country and
believe in the freedom of this nation. So it educates them at the same time it
unites us together and presses the value of what these people do when they fight
for our freedom," added Blum. "Especially that those that went away
did come back. Our prayers were answered. The main thing that father said was
that we needed to trust in God. When we raise the flag, we are celebrating our
freedom and our trust in God."
The day started with prayer and a song to remind the students of St. Mary's
High School in Remsen to be in a prayerful state throughout the day for the
victims of Sept. 11. In the afternoon at 2:30 there was a program that consisted
of prayer and song that the students also attended. Along with them was a
representative from the fire department and from the police station.
"We raised our flag back up to full mast," said Rose Davis,
principal at St. Mary's. "We finished the day with recognizing the victims
again. We had several students and faculty who had loved ones or friends that
lived in New York or Washington, D.C. and had direct contact with that tragedy.
We have, as a nation, been healing, but still need to heal from that tragedy.
This was part of it and they recognize it as part of the healing process."
The students at Spalding High School in Granville participated in a special
morning prayer to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
At Sacred Heart School in Spencer, the students participated in a living
rosary. The rosary began with an introduction about Sept. 11 and a reminder to
everyone of what happened that day two years ago. After the rosary, the students
started their regular school day.
"We had several parents in attendance," said Ron Olberding the
principal at Sacred Heart. "We had invited parents and parishioners to
come. We had a nice crowd."
During the nine days prior to Sept. 11 the students prayed a novena provided
by Father Roger Linnan, pastor at Sacred Heart. The novena was prayed during the
daily announcements and read by two sixth grade students.
"As we did the novena prior to Sept. 11, the older students
remembered," said Olberding. "You could tell they were thinking about
that. All the kids were effected and that they were thinking about the victims
and their families. They were old enough to know. Everyday the two sixth graders
that were in were very much in sympathy by keeping the families in their
The campus ministry group at Briar Cliff University invited the campus to
gather at noon in the Our Lady of Grace Chapel for a short prayer for the
victims of Sept. 11 and their families and to pray for peace. Last year three
trees were planted on the Briar Cliff campus to remember those who lost their