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Public invited to attend 17th annual Patriot Day Ceremony in Apple Valley

9/11 first responder to speak during annual event at the Academy for Academic Excellence

APPLE VALLEY — The Lewis Center for Educational Research (LCER) will continue its tradition next week of remembering those killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks with a ceremony that will be open to the public for the first time in the event’s history.

In partnership with the Town of Apple Valley, LCER will host its 17th annual Patriot Day Ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Ryan Cambridge Memorial Gymnasium on the Academy for Academic Excellence (AAE) campus located at 17500 Mana Road.

LCER President and CEO Lisa Lamb, who will welcome guests alongside Town Manager Doug Robertson, said the Patriot Day Ceremony will offer students, staff and High Desert residents the opportunity to remember and honor the men and women who risked their lives to help others in the face of unimaginable terror.

“As a highly patriotic school, AAE is committed to ensuring our students understand that our American freedoms are not free,” Lamb said. “We dedicate this day to honoring our community’s first responders, veterans and active military personnel, and remembering all those who lost their lives on that tragic day 18 years ago.”

To mark this year’s anniversary, LCER and town officials selected Apple Valley resident Regina Cervantes as the keynote speaker. A former emergency medical technician who responded to Ground Zero in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, Cervantes will share her memories and discuss the importance of remembering those who sacrificed their lives that day.

AAE Principal Valli Andreasen called Cervantes a true American hero. She said Cervantes’ experience will help bridge the gap for students who understand 9/11 only as a historical event learned about in the classroom.

“All of our students were born after that tragedy and have no memory of it,” Andreasen said. “We are very fortunate to have Regina Cervantes sharing her story and firsthand account of 9/11 with our students.”

In addition to Cervantes, special guests during Wednesday’s Patriot Day Ceremony will include representatives from the offices of Rep. Paul Cook, R-Apple Valley; 33rd District Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, R-Big Bear; and San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor Robert Lovingood, among others.

First responders from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the Apple Valley Fire Protection District will also be present.

Wednesday’s event will include performances by the AAE Knights Marching and Concert Band, a moment of silence and the playing of “Taps” by AAE students Madison Wallace and Kaydence Langley.

Apple Valley Mayor Larry Cusack said the town is honored to partner with LCER to bring the Patriot Day Ceremony to the public.

“We invite the community to join us on the morning of 9/11 to hear from a first responder who was there that fateful morning,” Cusack said. “We hope this special ceremony reminds us to never forget and also inspires us to be everyday heroes to those around us in our schools, neighborhoods and cities.”

Wednesday’s ceremony at AAE will begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. Guests are advised to arrive 20 to 30 minutes beforehand. LCER staff members will be on site to direct traffic in the parking lot. Students will be available to take guests into the venue.

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