Peace and Hope now live at Columbia Middle School.
The two white doves were scheduled to be released as part of a Remembrance Commemoration Ceremony, but Principal Donna Anderson said she thought they would do more good at the school.
"These white doves represent peace and hope and I hope you will remember that everytime you see these doves at school," she said.
While most of Columbia County's schools held somber morning ceremonies to commemorate the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on America,, Columbia Middle's program was more a celebration of patriotism.
"Last year we stood out here and spelled the words U.S.A., and what a beautiful sound to hear the words U.S.A. - united we stand!," Anderson recalled. "One year later we are coming together as a student body, a county, a nation to remember the numerous people who came to help with the rescue and cleanup process."
The Appling Fire Department, Gold Cross EMS and Columbia County Sheriff's Office had vehicles parked behind pupils wearing red, white and blue and formed the American flag on the field in front of the school. Event organizer Kim Harris was dressed as Lady Liberty, standing tall on top of the fire engine with her torch held high for the obligatory photo.
Diana Daughtry plays the flute with the eighth-grade band during Columbia Middle School's ceremony.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Sharon Thomas was one of the many parents who braved the 98-degree temperature to watch the hourlong ceremony.
"I just wanted to be here for my daughter to show support for her, for the school and for the country," she said.
At 1:50 p.m., the first of two parachuters jumped from a plane circling above the school, a plume of red smoke followed him down. He landed on the field as a loud cheer erupted from the children.Then, the second man jumped, trailing the American flag. The crowd cheered him to the ground yelling "U.S.A., U.S.A.!"
Wearing a blue shirt, pupil Whitney Hopkins said it felt really good to be a part of a human flag.
"I still can't believe it happened," she said, remembering the terrorist attacks last year.
Eighth-grader Marsha Taylor had similar feelings.
"I feel sorry for the people and the families that are hurting," Marsha said.
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