The community of Hoonah paid tribute to the "Heroes Among Us" on Jan. 11 during the first home basketball game of the season.
In the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy, members of the Hoonah Chapter of the National Honor Society thought it important to honor our own heroes, those people who act in the service of others. Consequently, members of the volunteer fire department, emergency medical service, and police department were recognized for the work they do to protect the health and safety of Hoonah residents.
The ceremony was organized by Hoonah High School's National Honor Society. It began with the presentation of colors by Hoonah veterans of a very special set of Alaska and U.S. flags. Superintendent of Schools Howard Diamond spoke about the significance of these two Ground Zero flags, as they are now called. The flags were flown over the sites where the Alaska-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team spent 12 days staffing three aid stations near the wreckage of the World Trade Center.
The Ground Zero flags are being circulated among school districts in the state as part of the Alaska Democracy Project, an effort to enhance and strengthen civics education, initiated by Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer during the summer of 2001. It is hoped that the Ground Zero flags will be a catalyst for learning more about what it means to be an American, the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and patriotism.
Glenda Hutton is National Honor Society advisor at Hoonah High School.