A 9/11 inspired piece stands in the sculpture garden at Hixson High School. It was created by a teacher and served as the backdrop during Friday's program. 

Students and faculty paused for a moment to honor the lives lost in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. 

They also recognized Hamilton County Sheriff's Office School Resource Officer Jimmy Bowers with the Spirit of 9/11 Award. 

For Bowers, the recognition was moving because he made the decision to become a law enforcement officer in light of 9/11. 

He wanted to help his community and in return, his community thanked him for his service. 

"If you want to help your country be better, you have to start at the foundation and the kids are our foundation. That's how I look at it," he said. 

Organizers say it's important to teach students how the United States changed that day 16 years ago. 

Many of them were too little to remember or weren't born when the towers came down. 

"That's why we hold this ceremony, so that people who are young, like my peers, we can realize the importance in a more hands-on type of experience instead of just watching it over the news or on TV," HHS Senior Preston Ward. 

The school will continue to honor Patriot's Day on Monday with a donation drive for those impacted by the recent hurricanes.