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North Salem Students Remember 9/11

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - The Middle/High School 9/11 Service took place about 8:30 Friday morning as all of the students, faculty and guests gathered outdoors at the flagpole. The North Salem High School Band opened the ceremony with the National Anthem.

Assistant Principal George Bovino began by reminding everyone that, “ten years ago, almost to the minute, the unthinkable happened.” He cited, “the thousands of deaths,” and said, “It is fitting for us, as a school, and as Americans, to honor those who lost their lives.”

Dr. Bovino spoke of the men and women who left home that day, just like every other day, not realizing they would never return. He spoke, too, of those who heroically tried to help and also lost their lives. He called the 9/11 attack, “a senseless, violent act which changed our world forever.”

Among the honored guests at the ceremony were Marine Corps Sgt. Matthew Engelhardt, 1998 graduate of North Salem High School , and North Salem Police Sgt. Andrew Brown, a member of the Board of Education and former member of the New York City Police Department.

After Sgt. Engelhardt led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, Sgt. Brown made a brief speech in tribute to the victims of 9/11 including, “the cherished people we did not know at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in the skies of Pennsylvania.”  Then he specifically mentioning the rescue teams and North Salem’s Vincent Halloran, a NYC firefighter and member of the Rescue 3 squad.

“Their sacrifices were mind-boggling and awe-inspiring,” he said, “but their greatest accomplishment is that over 100,000 lives were saved because of them.”

He told his audience of teens and pre-teens that “need is not disaster-driven. People need help every day. Sometimes it’s not glamorous. There are the homebound, the lonely. One step follows another.” He advised the young people to, “share in the goodness of your community, not only for others but for yourselves.”

Students Jamie-Rose Zappolo, Julia D’Innocenzo and Cecilia Heffernan then read poems about the disaster.

Dr. Bovino called upon Sgt. Engelhardt for the “changing of the flag.” Sgt. Englehardt explained that his Marine Unit had been presented with one of the five remaining U. S. Flags when they left Iraq. This flag was then run up the pole.

The bugler played taps.

Finally, Dr. Bovino asked everyone to think of 9/11 as a national day of service, a day on which to perform some kindness, not heroic but genuine and heartfelt, for someone.

After a moment of silence, members of the student council and others placed small American flags at the foot of the flagpole as a gesture of respect. The classes returned to school in silence.

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