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WATCH: Hudson elementary students celebrate Patriots Day

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Children at Willow River Elementary dressed in red, white and blue wave flags in honor of Patriots Day Monday afternoon, Sept. 11. The school honored the holiday with a program which included local law enforcement, emergency responders, service members and veterans. Gretta Stark / RiverTown Multimedia.2 / 7
Hudson area emergency responders salute the flag during Willow River Elementary's Patriots Day celebration. The departments represented included Hudson Police Department, Hudson Fire Department, the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department, military veterans and service members. Gretta Stark / RiverTown Multimedia.3 / 7
Students fly a small flag as they sit together during a ceremony honoring Patriots Day on Monday, Sept. 11 at Hudson Prairie Elementary. The school held the ceremony to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Rebecca Mariscal / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 7
Military veterans and service members joined local emergency responders and law enforcement to honor Patriots Day with Willow River Elementary Students Monday. Gretta Stark / RiverTown Multimedia.5 / 7
Second-grader Khloe Cook reads her speech with Principal Joe Behnke during Hudson Prairie Elementary's Patriots Day celebration. The event featured speeches from four students in second through fifth grade. Rebecca Mariscal / RiverTown Multimedia 6 / 7
Hudson Prairie Students Lilith Ledbury, Connor Koets, Natalie Bankes (obstructed), Molly Pream, Amelia Farkas and Lila Evens crowd together to give love to the new Hudson K-9 Badger, who attended the Hudson Prairie Elementary ceremony with Officer Bob Larson. Several area departments were represented at the events. Rebecca Mariscal / RiverTown Multimedia 7 / 7

Hudson Prairie and Willow River Elementary students honored Patriots Day by holding school-wide events. Students, veterans, service members, area first responders and school staff attended and took part in each program.

The ceremonies taught students about the events of 9/11 and what it means today. Several students at Hudson Prairie shared speeches on what it means to be a hero. Both schools honored their local heroes, giving thanks to active and veteran service members as well as Hudson Police, St. Croix EMS, St. Croix County Sheriff's Office and Hudson Fire Department.

Four students from Hudson Prairie Elementary were selected to share their essays about an everyday hero and how they help the world by acting like a patriot.

Student speeches

"When I ask someone what a hero is? They might say 'It's superman saving someone falling from a tall building or maybe batman stopping a bad guy.' But when people ask me what I think a hero is I say, I think the people that are heros helped the victims and people who got hurt or house got wrecked from Hurricane Harvey. The people that donated, the people that were unselfish, all the police, navy seals, nurses, doctors. They are all heros. I'm an everyday hero because I help people when they're stuck on a math problem. I talk them through it I try to make better people and a better community and that is what everyday heros do."

—Henry Vandenbark, fifth grade, Ms. Stanchik


"Being an everyday hero is as simple as holding the door for someone or helping someone when they are hurt! I am an everyday hero because I am a Girl Scout. Girl Scouts do many projects to help people in need. Last year we did a bake sale to help pay for some of the projects.

Another way I'm an everyday hero is because I helped to buy and put together 20 Jared boxes for The Jared Box Project. Jared Boxes are small boxes filled with toys, games and art supplies. These are donated to kids that are sick with cancer or other long hospital stays.

I'm not an everyday hero just at Girl Scouts, at school when I see a person alone I go play with them or help them find a person to play with. I love helping people and inspiring because I love to make people smile.

Patriot Day is a time to thank all the people making the world a better place. It is a day to also recognize all the leaders of our country."

—Sydnee Pytleski, fourth grade, Mr. DeMoulin


"Patriot Day is a day to remember the people that served in the military and public service. It is also a day to thank them for the work that they do to keep us safe and free. Without these hard working people we wouldn't have the great country that we have."

—Marley Larson, third grade, Mrs. Larson


"I like to be an everyday hero to my community by donating things like coats, shoes, clothing, blankets and toys. I like to donate these things to help people who do not have money to buy these things on their own. This helps the community by recycling. I also once cut and donated my hair to Locks of Love for people with cancer like my Aunt Jamie."

—Khloe Cook, second grade, Mrs. Fogarty