Cedar Grove high school students continue 9/11 flag memorial tradition ahead of 20th anniversary

An annual memorial to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks turned into a hands-on history lesson for the 20th anniversary.

News 12 Staff

Sep 8, 2021, 9:10 PM

Updated 956 days ago

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An annual memorial to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks turned into a hands-on history lesson for the 20th anniversary.
Cedar Grove High School students planted thousands of flags honoring the victims. It is a project that has been ongoing for years and is a way for the students to connect with the history of the event.
“My dad was supposed to be in the building before I was born, and his train was delayed,” says 16-year-old Matthew Nwokro.
Nwokro says that he has heard the stories of 9/11 his whole life, and that the project has given him a new perspective.
“I like looking at the names, imagining what kind of person they are and thinking about the unfortunate way they passed,” he says.
The project is called “Cedar Grove Waves.” There is one flag for each of the victims of the terrorist attack.
“It’s the 20th anniversary and it is a big deal. It’s something major that happened in our history and if we don’t honor and remember these lives – they can’t be forgotten,” says David Schoner, vice president of Cedar Grove Board of Education.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: 9/11 - 20 Years Later
Cedar Grove Waves added a 9/11 steel memorial a few years ago. This year, funds have been raised for lights that will illuminate the memorial all year long.
Organizers say that the project has become a hands-on history lesson for the students who were not alive when the attacks occurred.
“Kids are visual learners. So we can talk about stuff and read about stuff, but when you come out here and see 2,977 flags on the front lawn - each one representing a person – that stays with you,” Schoner says.
The students say that they agree.
“It really shows the important date 9/11 was. And it shows you didn’t have to be alive to experience 9/11 or know about it,” says Cecelia Spiegel. “The history is still always going to be there.”
The project will be completed by Saturday for the 20th anniversary. The flags will remain for two weeks after.
Cedar Grove Waves will host a 9/11 memorial service in front of the flag garden on Saturday morning. The project is paid for by donations and fundraising.

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