In a simple, yet poignant remembrance ceremony, the students of Kings Park honored those killed on 9/11 and the acts of so many brave men and women that day.
Cassie Butler, 14, niece of , a Kings Park resident and member of the New York City Fire Department, who lost his life in the attacks, raised a flag that flew over the World Trade Center. A framed flag, remembering Thomas was mounted on a podium at the event and will be installed in the lobby of the school. Stephen Butler, Cassie's father who also responded on Sept. 11 gave the school both flags. The event was organized entirely by the students.
"Today we recall, and we celebrate, what we learned about ourselves on September 11, 2001," said high school principal, Lino Bracco as he addressed the student body. "We recall, and we celebrate, how we acted that day. We remember once again how ordinary human beings, living their ordinary lives, reacted with extraordinary heroism when, without warning and in an instant, they were thrown face-to-face with the most fundamental questions of human existence."
The students, many of whom were four and five at the time of the attacks, were all in some way touched by the events.
"I remember watching the television and had no idea what it really was that was happening," said 16-year-old Krissy Deguri and is a member of the chamber that sang the sang the National Anthem at the morning ceremony. "I realize what a tragedy it was. It is a new perspective," she said.
Her friends in the group, all members of the chamber, recalled the day. One said her dad was in the city that day; another had an aunt who used to work in the Trade Center. Eleven years later, each generation seems to be touched in different ways. "As you grow up, you understand more," said one.
After the ceremony, Cassie remembered the day her Uncle was killed. "I was three-and-a-half. I remember really clearly," she said. "My dad dropped me off at preschool and then we went to my grandma's house. No one had heard from my uncle for hours," said Cassie.
Each year, Cassie said the family goes to the Kings Park Bluff and to the cemetery to honor her uncle and then back to her grandparent's house.
Cassie said she was a little nervous about her part in the event, but added "I felt happy and honored to raise the flag."
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