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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Oct 05, 2017

Saint John Vianney High School Creates Flag Memorial For Victims of 9/11

Saint John Vianney High School (SJVHS) students, staff, and faculty participated in a nationwide project called 9/11: Never Forget. A flag memorial was created on the lawn in front of SJVHS to honor all 2,977 victims who died on 9/11. SJVHS social studies teacher and Military Support Club moderator Mrs. Diane Thompson organized this event and explained, “For the past few years, I have been receiving materials to use in my classes to teach about 9/11. The organization that provides the materials encourages students to make a flag memorial on their campus by placing 2,977 flags in the ground to honor each victim of the attacks. With the help of the SJVHS administration and the SJVHS Military Support Club, we constructed our memorial on Friday, September 8.”

Many students volunteered their time to the flag memorial. Junior Seamus Duffy said, “I volunteered my time to help with the flag memorial because to me, it was more than putting wooden sticks with American flags into the ground. The meaning of the ceremony was to recognize all lives lost on 9/11 and to really put into proportion the magnitude of that terror attack. To me and many others, this project means so much more. Not only is it important to honor the fallen, but it is also very important to honor the brave men and women who were running into the danger while others were running away from danger.” Seamus’ father was a first responder in the FDNY, which is why this project hits very close to home for him. Seamus stated, “I feel like it was my duty to pay respect to all people who lost their lives on that day, along with people that are battling to survive with their sicknesses caused by this terror attack. When I look at those flags on the front lawn of the school, I don’t only think about the victims of the 9/11 attack; I also keep in mind all the men and women who lost their lives and continue to serve our great country. I’m very lucky to wake up in my bed, live where I live, and have the family that I do. Too many people take those things for granted, and placing those flags on the front lawn reminded me that not every day is promised.”

Jeffrey Nelson, a senior at SJVHS, was also instrumental to the success of this project. “I volunteered my time to help with the flag memorial not just because it was a community service opportunity, but because I knew how important it was to honor those who died in the attack on 9/11. When I was putting down the flags for the memorial, I was thinking to myself that there were so many flags. It is heartbreaking to know that all of the flags represent a life taken during 9/11. It was an honor to help,” he said.

Mrs. Thomson noted, “My goal was to give students a visual representation of the magnitude of the attacks on 9/11/01 while paying tribute to the victims and heroes of that day. Our students were either very young or not even born. We must never forget what happened in our past, even the tragic events, so that we can fully appreciate the freedoms that we have today.”