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Oakland Meadow students show patriotism

Photo: Andrew McMurtrie Kim Otis, left, along with Oakland Meadow School Students Cadance Hardin, left center, and Tylar Madden observe the  "freedom wall"  that displays signs and artwork  honoring lives lost 10 years ago during a Patriot Day Celebration Friday.

Photo: Andrew McMurtrie Kim Otis, left, along with Oakland Meadow School Students Cadance Hardin, left center, and Tylar Madden observe the "freedom wall" that displays signs and artwork honoring lives lost 10 years ago during a Patriot Day Celebration Friday.

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Photo: Andrew McMurtrie Marine Corps Sgt. Alvarado salutes the American flag outside Oakland Meadow School while students and faculty hold a Patriot Day Celebration Friday. Students created a "freedom wall" with signs and artwork outside the school honoring lives lost 10 years ago.

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Photo: Andrew McMurtrie Oakland Meadow School teacher Caroline Whitten, left, along with students Kyah Payne, left center, and Malik Crack, right, lead a freedom parade during Patriot Day Celebration Friday. The event featured a military flag raising and speakers to commemorate the day. Students also created a "freedom wall" with signs and artwork outside the school honoring lives lost 10 years ago.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Oakland Meadow student Rachael Piatte watched as military personnel raised the American Flag Friday afternoon.

The 18-year-old donned a Lady Liberty hat as she beamed with happiness.

While she couldn't express her feelings with words, the smile seemed to say it all.

Students, parents and faculty members at the special education facility got to show their national pride Friday afternoon as they celebrated the school's annual Patriot Day event.

Also in attendance Friday was Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson.

She asked the group of more than 200 people to wave their flags in unison.

"We can wave our flags because we have freedom," Johnson said. "We have the freedom to be what we want to be and who we want to be."

In addition to a speech by Johnson, the gathering featured the Star Spangled Banner accompanied by Clovia Jackson, a student reading by Daniel Padgett and a viewing of the "Freedom Wall," a collection of student-made art and posters.

The event also featured a quilt pieced together by students. The Quilt of Valor was presented by teacher Cathy Etheridge and her students.

Etheridge presented the quilt to the Quilts of Valor Foundation's Catherine Roberts, the organization's founder.

The quilt will be given to a soldier as thanks for their service to the country.

Refreshments and fellowship among teachers and students followed Friday.

School Principal Sara Clifford said the event was "amazing.

"It couldn't have gone better," she said. "Beautiful weather and a great turnout."

Rachael Piatte might agree. Her teacher, Mary Roche, said Piatte had been looking forward to Patriot Day.

"She loves it," Roche said. Piatte smiled.