Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole made a special visit to his alma mater, Cedar Grove High School, to celebrate an annual tradition -- planting miniature American flags outside the school to remember and pay tribute to the victims of 9/11.
“Having seen this extraordinary display, I said we needed to do something to honor the school and its students,” said O’Toole, Class of ’82. “This is about the kids and we thank them for this great project, for their wonderful civic-mindedness and their patriotism.”
The sixth annual “Cedar Grove Waves” installation “is a source of pride, a sign of how connected today’s youth are to that horrible event, and how they are doing extraordinary things to honor those who died that day,” he said.
COVID didn’t deter students from planting the 2,977 individual flags with name plates of those who died during the terror attacks, providing teaching moments for many youngsters who hadn’t yet been born that fateful day.
The plots are arranged in alphabetical order so visitors who lost a loved one when hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center twin towers, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, PA can find theirs.
O’Toole brought others – among them, Port Authority Chief of Major Capital Projects Steve Plate, who led the agency’s effort to rebuild the WTC site, as well as PAPD Superintendent Edward Cetnar and PAPD Detective Jack Collins, who – with Cetnar and many others – worked heroically to save lives and assist in the rescue efforts on 9/11 and the weeks that followed.
The event also included a presentation by members of the Port Authority Police Pipe and Drum Corps and PAPD’s Honor Guard and comments from school officials.
The flags will be removed in two weeks, but remaining will be a metal piece recovered from the World Trade Center wreckage that was donated by the Port Authority PBA and the World Trade Center Memorial Fund two years ago.
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