As you looked around the front lawn of Gulfport High School, you saw an expression of patriotism that most of these students have never experienced before.
Kids like Gulfport band member Amy Gremillion waved American flags throughout the school sponsored ceremony. "It was kind of like a chance for our whole school to get together and to unite really for the first time ever," she said.
Gulfport football player Edgar Fowler said the ceremony brought everybody together. "We were all together at one point in time," Fowler said. "But it brings us more and more together."
Gulfport Principal Lester Denley organized the rally. He did it for a simple reason. "I want us to keep in our hearts that patriotic feeling that we do have about our country," he said, "and realize how important it is to be free and to live in the United States."
Gulfport's patriotic rally started at the same time the national prayer service started. Students recited the Pledge of Allegiance. And they sang both the National Anthem and God Bless America.
Throughout the event, several students held a red, white and blue chain. Each link had a hand written message for America and its victims. "Some of it is prayers," Gulfport student Steven Fischer said. "Some of it is ideas for what we should do about it."
The Gulfport High School ceremony lasted just 10 minutes. But that was long enough for this student body to unite behind the stars and stripes.