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Elementary students thank firefighters

By Julie Newman, jnewman@wcyb.com
Published On: Sep 11 2013 09:37:47 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 11 2013 04:26:31 PM CDT
BRISTOL, Va. -

Some of America's smallest citizens are marking the 12th year since the September 11th terrorist attacks by saying "thank you" to local firefighters.

For them, it’s all about giving back. They may be young, but elementary students at St. Anne's Catholic School in Bristol, Va. understand why they're raising their voices in song to thank firefighters.

Elliott Walters, a second grader, tells us, "Because it's 9/11 and a lot of people died on that day. And people and firefighters came to save a lot of people because planes crashed into the Twin Towers."

Bennett Baines, a third grader, adds, "It means a day when people came to have war with the United States and the firefighters and policemen stood up for us."

Teachers try to talk to the kids in terms they can relate to.

Anne Johnson, a second grade teacher at St. Anne's, tells us, "One student said his father was in New York when the towers fell. One of his partners made it out and one didn't. We prayed for them and their families."

As the students offered firefighters cards they made and a lunch they prepared, they got to see firsthand how these men and women drop everything to help people when an emergency call comes in.

And for the firefighters, seeing these children learn the value of helping others makes the memory of September 11th a little less painful.

Bristol, Va. Fire Chief J.C. Bolling, Bristol, says, "There was a lot of destruction that day, but hearing these children sing God Bless America lets us know the future is bright."

St. Anne's started this tradition over 10 years ago, and teachers tell us it's something they look forward to every year.