While the majority in attendance were not alive the day the Twin Towers fell, hundreds of students gathered for Forcht Bank’s annual Patriot Day event on September 11 to learn the significance of the day America stood still.
“The primary reason behind this program is so our children and everybody understands what happened on the events of 9-11-2001, the importance of that day and to honor those who lost their lives and who risked their lives to take care and to save others,” said Corey Chesnut, Forcht Bank Market President.
Students heard guest speakers such as Central Elementary Principal Eric Hubbard and Judge Michael Caperton talk about the impact 9/11 made on those across America and how the country rallied and rebuilt following the events. Flags flew across the air as small hands waved along to ‘America the Beautiful’ and ‘Land of the Free.’
Along with Forcht Bank employees, others who assisted in the program were the Knox County Jr. ROTC, Josh Smith, Mrs. Farmer’s class from G.R. Hampton, KC Chamber Choir and Barbourville choir. Dozens of first responders and veterans were also at the event, allowing students to interact with the people who work ceaselessly to defend their safety and freedom.
Bobby Anders was one of the several veterans in attendance at Tuesday’s event. Anders joined the Army October 17, 1957. He served six years total with three in Germany and the rest in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He was honorably discharged in 1963 with a good conduct medal and an overseas service medal. Like many others, Anders remembers exactly where he was September 11, 2001 when he learned the country was being attacked.
“I was in the tobacco farm stripping tobacco when I heard it on the radio. I thought, ‘Oh my goodness.’ I was ready to go back and help them. I was, really. I would have went back and helped if they needed me,” said Anders.
Overall, students were thankful for the experience, reflecting that it teaches them important historical events and keeps the memory going for generations to come of those who lost their lives, truly marking that America will never forget.
“Where we weren’t born or since we don’t remember, it just teaches us about it,” said Knox Central junior Riley Swafford, “so we can honor those who did die and those who were injured and their families who were affected. If they didn’t teach us stuff like this…we wouldn’t know and we wouldn’t be able to honor those people.”