CANTON — Canton Warriors gathered around their flagpole Wednesday, a sunny morning just as it was 18 years ago, to pay respect to those who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and show gratitude to first responders still serving today.

Along with the Pledge of Allegiance and a performance of The Star Spangled Banner by the Canton Warrior Marching Band, students addressed their classmates with speeches regarding the reason for the solemn assembly.

“On this date we commemorate the day that America was changed forever,” stated Senior Esther Martin. “It was changed by an attack by radical Islamic terrorists who used commercial passenger jets as weapons to attack us in New York City and the Pentagon and Washington, D.C. Also, the brave Americans who sacrificed their own lives when they stormed the terrorists aboard the Flight 93, causing it to crash before it could attack Washington D.C.”

“We gather as saddened Americans as we remember the 3,000 lives lost on that day and the continuing health struggles and deaths of the first responders and their families that are suffering to this very day,” continued Senior Madisyn Earle. “They were everyday people just going to work, then there was that horrible sight and with no regard for their own lives they rushed into the Twin Towers to help anyone they could. Four hundred first responders, firemen, police and EMTs perished that day.”

Earle stated that first responders from Canton joined recovery efforts in New York after the terrorist attacks.

“This is why we take time in our community to recognize our first responders and all they do for us,” she said.

Canton students and staff recognized a moment of silence during the ceremony at 8:46 a.m., the moment the first plane struck the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001, followed by a flag lowering ceremony to set the American flag at half staff.

Connect with Bri: (570) 265-2151 ext. 1627; bostrander@thedailyreview.com; Facebook @Brianne Ostrander Daily Review.