By Patricia Deal, CRDAMC Public Affairs


Saegert Elementary School students high-five CRDAMC Soldiers during the school’s annual Freedom Walk to commemorate Patriot Day, September 11. (U.S. Army photo by Patricia Deal, CRDAMC Public Affairs)

FORT HOOD, Texas—Dark clouds and rain didn’t dampen the patriotic spirit of Saegert Elementary School students as they high-fived and fist-bumped Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Soldiers during the school’s annual Freedom Walk to commemorate Patriot Day, September 11.

 Patriot Day, observed as the National Day of Service and Remembrance, occurs on September 11 of each year in memory of the people killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001. While none of the students were around during the time of that fatal day, Principal Eli Lopez said her staff ensures the students understand the meaning of the day’s events and the impact it made on our nation.

 “We do talk to them about the traumatic part of 9/11, but mostly we concentrate on the healing aspect now, and how we need to be appreciative of those who serve-Soldiers, police, first responders—and the sacrifices they make,” Lopez said. “Many of our students have a military affiliation and have parents who have deployed so they understand where their freedoms come from. They are always excited for any opportunity to interact with their ‘heroes.’”

 Saegert Elementary is CRDAMC’s adopted school and the hospital’s Soldiers support the school by participating in different events, providing tutoring and offering educational classes and training for students and parents, too.

 “I am so glad I came out here today,” said Pfc. Evangelina Santacruz, adding that this was her first event with the students. “They were so little and shy but so very excited to see us. They made all these drawings and flags to show their patriotism. It was truly impressive. Definitely motivates me to come back to interact with them.”