Remember the Fallen

PMHS students honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice on the 17th anniversary of 9/11.

9/11 has been a day to remember and honor those who lost their lives in New York City and Virginia.

Photo by Andres Rendon

9/11 has been a day to remember and honor those who lost their lives in New York City and Virginia.

On September 11th, 2001, the city of New York, and the nation as a whole, experienced a terrorist attack. Soon after, what was supposed to be a city with a hurting public, was actually a city, and country, with a people more unified than before. The destruction that the attacks on the World Trade Center brought to the people of the United States was overwhelmed by the support for one another, and a hope for a better tomorrow.

Today, we continue to grow as a nation; increasing safety precautions in our military, the economy getting more stable with more opportunities to gain economic stability, and an increase in education for students. But with all of these advances flourishing, we still must take the time to honor those who have died in the attack, to appreciate and thrive more in the present society, and the Village of Patchogue did just that.

Photo by Andres Rendon
The town of Patchogue has devoted space solely to honor the victims of 9/11.

On September 11th, 2018, at 11 in the morning, members of the community, including veterans, families of victims from the attack, and even the mayor and other officials all gathered at the new park on Maiden Ave in Patchogue, to honor those who perished in the tragedy 17 years ago. With over 120 in attendance, all were moved by the ceremony and what members of the community had to say.

After the ceremony, I had a chance to speak with Mayor Pontieri, who stated that, “There are things that come into our lives that change our lives. This [ceremony] just shows that we still have to remember this day.” The common theme of remembrance and honor was present throughout all of the speeches given at the ceremony.

To honor those who have fallen, members of the Patchogue-Medford High School Choral Ensemble, under the direction of Mr. Reich, were asked to perform the national anthem as a start to the ceremony, as well as a closing song to end the ceremony. To the members of  the chorus, they thought it was just another performance of the “Star Spangled Banner,” including myself, but to the community it meant so much more. The overall theme at the ceremony was honor and remembrance, and doing something as simple as singing was enough to be classified as such.

After the ceremony was over, many individuals came to thank the choir for coming to the ceremony and singing. Although the singing was exquisite, it wasn’t just that that gave people the need to thank us. It was the time that the choir took out of the day to honor those who have perished and that meant a great deal to the community.

Among those thankful individuals was Patricia Seal, the Village Clerk of the Village of Patchogue. While wiping her tears, Seal told the choir, “I’m crying it was so beautiful! It means a lot for you kids to come out on your day off and sing at the ceremony. And it’s not about the speeches, it’s about honoring those who died.”

Photo by Mark Stuckey, Director of Art, Music, & Cultural Arts at PMHS
PMHS Choral Ensemble performed at a special memorial honoring the victims of 9/11.

At the end of the day, no matter how many ceremonies there were for September 11th, how many songs were sang, it all comes down to the simple deed of just remembering and honoring those who are no longer with us as a result of the attack, in any way that a person could think of.

That day in history has taught us as a society to not be divided in times of chaos, but to be strong together. It has taught us to be grateful for the things we come across in life, no matter how big or how small. And most importantly, it has taught everyone to have hope.