Most of students were born after the attacks that hit the United States a decade ago, but the anniversary of 9/11 still meant much to the youngsters. Students organized a march from their school with an escort from the East Haven Police Department to the Town Hall under the direction of their principal, Laura Amato on Friday, Sept. 9.
Patch got back into some of the classrooms to speak with the children and their teachers about what 9/11 meant to them. In teacher John Clifford’s fifth grade class, 13 of the students were born prior to Sept. 2001.
Christian Fowler said, “9/11 means to me that we were being attacked by people who did not like us [Americans]. I think that what they did to the people on the planes and in the Twin Towers was very mean.”
Around the corner in teacher Alice Cleto’s classroom, student Haley Kozlowski said, “9/11 means that you remember all of the people who died and fought for us. When I look at the flag, I see a symbol for our country.”
Nicolas Curran, a student in Dana Nelson’s class simply responded with the word ‘mean’ when asked about what 9/11 means to him, and then elaborated by saying, “It was a terrible crime. Osama Bin Laden was evil.”
As the students from grades three through five were escorted by Amato and their teachers they walked from Prospect Road to Town Hall, escorted by police officers Michael D’Amato, Shawn Hatchell, Stephen Paulson and Sergeant Frank Montagna.
In the school’s office, Amato patiently had the children called to the foyer by class, and festively dressed in Red; White and Blue lead her parade of children to the town hall. What was probably the most amazing part of the children’s excitement was that most of them are even too young to remember 9/11, because they weren’t even born at the time.
Awaiting the students at Town Hall, were Mayor April Capone, Superintendent of Schools, Anthony Serio and his assistant, Erica Forte.
, a fifth grader and is a member of the Tuttle School News Team, announced the beginning of the ceremony by saying “Good morning Tuttle School Citizens, Staff, Community Friends and especially the Honorable Mayor April Capone…I am Matthew Moss, a member of the Tuttle School News Team. To show respect for our country, please stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.”
After the pledge, Matt introduced a fellow student who is also a fifth grade student. She wished everyone in attendance a ‘good morning’ and welcomed them to Tuttle School’s “We Love America Day,”
Kelly spoke of honoring the memory of the heroes of 9/11, she stated “by celebrating the spirit of these heroes, is what makes America a great country. Many of us were very young or not even born at that time, but as young American citizens we honor them today with our patriotism. We are connecting our recent experience with Hurricane Irene to emphasize the positive energy and unity in East Haven and America.”
Mayor April Capone congratulated the children on the valiant effort they put into making this march of recognition happen. She spoke about being out of the country on vacation at the time the attacks took place, and wanting so badly to return home. Superintendent Anthony Serio also commended the kids and spoke about what 9/11 meant to him, and shared personal experience of his comings and goings that day.
Some of the other students who spoke at the ceremony included fifth graders Jake Edwards, Michaela Amato whose proud dad, Officer Amato was one of the police escorts, and was proudly standing near-by to support his daughter, and fellow student, Gianni Bruno.
Matthew Moss stepped up to the podium, thanking Ms. Amato for making this event come together, and she in turn introduced Mr. Michael A. Martino, Jr., as ‘the musical legend of East Haven’, and he led the children and spectators in singing “America the Beautiful”.
Laura Amato then closed the ceremony with these words, “On behalf of Tuttle School citizens and staff, we thank you for joining us in honoring the memory of true heroes of 9/11 and in celebrating the strong pride and spirit of being an American.”
On the count of three, all the students shouted, “We love America!”