LAS VEGAS -- In classrooms across the United States, many students spent Wednesday talking about the importance of 9/11.
At one Las Vegas school, there were surprising and personal ties to the events that happened 12 years ago when nearly 3,000 people lost their lives.
Second grade teacher Kristy Monasterio who is from New York now teaches at Batterman Elementary School. She likes to tell the story of a hero.
"He took out the fire extinguishers and put out the flames," she tells students.
It's a story she never gets tired of telling.
"Welles took out his red bandana and wrapped it around his nose and mouth," she reads from a book.
The man in the red bandana was Welles Crowther, a high school friend of Monasterio's. He perished in the attacks on one of the twin towers, but not before helping to save more than a dozen lives. His heroic efforts are in a book Monasterio reads to her students every year.
"It isn't about death, it's about a hero, somebody went and saved people, Monasterio said.
Instead of focusing on tragedy, teachers at the school used 9/11 as a lesson to focus on the heroes who emerged on that day.
They want the students to pay respect to the men and women who now fight for freedom.
"They protect America so you can feel safe and sound in your home," said Audree Morter, fourth grader.
The students, including Kevin Hanley, weren't even born on 9/11, but Hanley was named after someone who died that day in the attacks.
"My dad's best friend, his name was Kevin Kline and he was on the 80th story," Hanley said.
Although Kline didn't survive, his story lives on and so does his name. Monasterio says those are the stories that teach kids about resilience and perseverance.
"I think it's about unity coming together being there for each other," she said.
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