New Jersey students learn about the national anthem during Star-Spangled Banner Week

Fifth-graders from Montclair take part in a national anthem singalong.

Fifth-graders from Montclair take part in a national anthem singalong. (9/9/16)

LITTLE FALLS - Some of New Jersey’s youngest citizens are learned about the national anthem while participating in a nationwide singalong of the anthem.

The Star-Spangled Banner is 202 years old this week, and Montclair fifth-graders learned about the anthem at the Yogi Berra Museum in Little Falls.

Star-Spangled Banner Week coincides with the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The event organizers say that it is important for the students to understand the history.

“A lot of these kids don’t really understand 9/11. They weren’t even born then, so we try to help their teachers help them to understand how our country changed that day,” says the American Public Education Foundation’s Kathleen Magennis.

The national anthem has been a topic of conversation lately after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem as part of the Black Lives Matter protests.

Organizers of Friday’s event say that they are there to have an open dialogue about whether it’s right to use the national anthem in protest. They also say that they are there to teach the students how to show respect for the anthem.

“I want the kids to take away from it that we are one nation. We stand divided. We stand up. We stand up for our patriotism,” Magennis says. “It’s a wonderful place to be. We're the luckiest country in the whole wide world.”

About 5 million children across the country took part singing the Start-Spangled Banner.

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