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Students, parents, teachers and staff at McLean Middle School gathered outside the front of the school to honor those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. 

McLean was among 25 schools in Fort Worth Independent School District that conducted a 9/11 Observance Ceremony, according to Fort Worth ISD’s website.

It was a quiet morning. The crowd circled around McLean’s flagpole, just outside the main school building. Everyone was silent throughout the ceremony, and only clicks of cameras could be heard.

McLean’s Junior Cadet Corps, accompanied by Fort Worth Fire Department and Fort Worth Police Department, raised the flag outside the main building of McLean. Before McLean’s principal John Engel spoke to the crowd, the McLean choir sang “America the Beautiful.”

FWISD District 6 Trustee Ann Sutherland was another one of the speakers at the observance; however, she was at the podium for only a brief time.

The observance ended with two drama students reciting “Old Glory,” two flags being placed in a fire, and the band performing.

Because most of the students attending and participating in the ceremony were too young to remember 9/11, Cadet Private First Class Daufeni Perez, a McLean eighth grader, said that students his age might not realize the extent of what America has gone through.

“This will teach them, and something inside them will change,” he said.

Perez, who joined the Junior Cadet Corps last year, said his interest in the services came from his grandfather’s participation as an officer in the military.

“I planned on being a part of the 101st Airborne Division since childhood,” he said. “So being a part of JCC, I will learn how to become a leader, and this will help me later on after high school.”

The corps had about two weeks of preparation for the ceremony under Senior Chief Petty Officer Juan Molina, said Patricia Perez, the mother of another corps member at McLean.

In the days leading up to the event, she said her daughter was excited about being a part of the 9/11 ceremony at McLean.

“She was telling me ‘Mom, are you going to go? Are you going to go to it?’”

Patricia Perez said her daughter was excited to be a part of the ceremony because it was her first time to help put up the flag in front of the school.