PHARR, Texas – Vanguard Academy hosted a 20th Anniversary of Remembering 9/11 Ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 11.

The event was held at Vanguard’s new Van Gogh Campus on West Moore Road in Pharr. Organized by Rey Perez, a U.S. history professor, the ceremony drew many first responders and law enforcement officers, a unit from RGV Angel Flight, and a number of VIPs. After the morning event, those in attendance were treated to barbacoa tacos and menudo.

This was the agenda:

  • Program Emcees: Rey Perez, U.S. history professor at Vanguard, and Casandra Garcia, KRGV Channel 5 News
  • Welcome: Dr. Narciso Garcia, superintendent, Vanguard Academy
  • Vanguard Academy Welcome: Tim Brown, Vanguard Academy board member
  • Presentation of Colors: Pharr Police Color Guard
  • National Anthem: Vanguard Rembrandt Choir (Valeria Leija-Gonzalez, Many Pena, and Olivia Garza)
  • Pledge of Allegiance: Ariel Alconser, president, Mozart Criminal Justice Club
  • Texas Pledge: Mia Gonzalez, Vanguard Beethoven Secondary
  • Invocation: Tristan Ray Aguirre, Vanguard Academy Gear-Up
  • Introduction of Dignitaries: Jose Gonzalez, principal, and Maria S. Farias, principal
  • Remembering 9/11 Proclamation: Pharr City Commissioner Itza Flores
  • Roll Call and Recognition of Our Heroes: Valeria Leija-Gonzalez, Lee Perez, and Adrian Alvarez
  • 1st Poem – The Day the Eagle Cried: Joseph Hernandez, Vanguard Rembrandt Secondary
  • 2nd Poem – The Eleventh of September: Melanie Mejia, Vanguard Rembrandt Secondary
  • 3rd Poem – We Shall Never Forget: Vanessa Vega, Vanguard Rembrandt Secondary
  • Moment of Silence, TAPS: Heron Gonzalez, Vanguard Rembrandt Secondary
  • Reflection and Remembrance of Our Heroes: Pharr Fire Guard Tribute
  • Special Message: The Hon. Eddie Lucio, Jr., state Senator, Texas District 27
  • Special Message: Dr. Ricardo J. Solis, president, South Texas College
  • Special Message: The Hon. Pharr City Commissioner, Daniel Chavez
  • Special Message: Rene Guajardo, South Texas College board member
  • Special Message: The Hon. Mayor, Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez, City of Pharr
  • Presentation of Our Heroes: Vanguard Academy Students
  • Closing Remarks: Rey Perez, US History Professor

Here are the three poems read aloud by students Joseph Hernandez, Melanie Mejia, and Vanessa Vega:

The Day the Eagle Cried

The eagle shed a tear today 

As he flew over his domain

He heard and watched his children die

And his heart cried out in pain

But from the crash, mid smoke and ash

Grew a power both great and rare

It touched the souls of young and old

And gathered them in prayer

Oh hatred you must cast your blows

And death inflict your stings

But we have faith in God above

And the eagle spread his wings

He flew on high up in the sky

And called to all who’d hear

Unit with me in firm resolve

We will not live in fear

We will not rest, we will not cease

And terror will not reign

We vow to you now gone and beyond

You will not die in vain

The sun will rise, the sun will set

And time will not abide

But rest assured we will not forget 

The day the eagle cried 

The Eleventh of September

We mourn their loss this day this year

Those now with God, no danger near 

So many loved ones left do stand

Confronting loss throughout our land

My heart goes out to those who do

No one can fathom what they view

I firmly pray for peace of mind

Dear God please help each one to find

And to our soldiers now at war

God guide above, at sea, on shore

They are the best, I have no doubt

Our country’s pride, complete, devout

The finest force you’ll ever see

All freedom grown through liberty

One final thought comes clear to me

For what must live in infamy

Absolutely – We’ll Remember

The Eleventh – Of September

We Shall Never Forget

Let the world always remember,

That fateful day in September,

And the ones who answered duty’s call,

Should be remembered by us all.

Who left the comfort of their home,

To face perils as yet unknown,

An embodiment of goodness on a day,

When men’s hearts had gone astray.

Sons and daughters like me and you,

Who never questioned what they had to do,

Who by example, were a source of hope,

And strength to others who could not cope.

Heroes that would not turn their back,

With determination that would not crack,

Who bound together in their ranks,

And asking not a word of thanks.

Men who bravely gave their lives,

Whose orphaned kids and widowed wives,

Can proudly look back on their dad,

Who gave this country all they had.

Actions taken without regret,

Heroisms we shall never forget,

The ones who paid the ultimate price,

Let’s never forget their sacrifice.

And never forget the ones no longer here,

Who fought for the freedoms we all hold dear,

And may their memory never wane,

Lest their sacrifices be in vain.