VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — None of the students attending Pembroke Elementary School were even alive when the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 occurred, but their principal is determined that they know who the heroes were that day.

On Monday morning, American flags lined the walkways into the school and members of the U.S. Navy, and Virginia Beach police and fire departments were at the bus doors.

While Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the U.S.A. played on a portable speaker, “Remember Our Heroes” signs were held high by PTA members.

One by one, red, white and blue dressed students made their way to class, not able to miss the atmosphere created for them. Or at least Principal Beth Bianchi hopes they didn’t.

“We want out kids to understand that even when bad things happen, we have people,” Bianchi said.

As to not frighten young children, Bianchi said the focus would not be on the tragedies in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, but rather the first responders’ response to them.

“Our first units in our lower classes our community helpers. We wanted them to see that. We have protection and people are there at our aid. No matter what things happen,” Bianchi said.

Bianchi knows well the lifestyle of those who selflessly serve. Her husband is retired Rear Adm.
Robert Bianchi, who currently serves as CEO for the Navy Exchange Service Command.

Inside, the PTA decorated the cafeteria and welcomed all those who don the uniform to a pancake and sausage breakfast.

Handmade cards were on the tables, as students started the day with the national anthem.

“It’s really really nice to see kids learning about the day,” one firefighter said. “We lost a lot of brothers that day. As sad as it is, they need to know that.”