9/11 memorial: Security guard shouldn’t have silenced choir

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NEW YORK (AP) – Officials at the Sept. 11 memorial in New York said Monday that one of their security guards shouldn’t have stopped a North Carolina middle school choir from singing the national anthem on the memorial plaza.

“The guard did not respond appropriately,” the spokeswoman, Kaylee Skaar, said. “We are working with our security staff to ensure that this does not happen again with future student performances.”

Some 50 students from Waynesville Middle School in western North Carolina were at the 9/11 memorial last Wednesday and had just started singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” when a guard told them to stop.

Teacher Martha Brown told Fox News on Monday that a different security guard had given the OK for her students to sing. But the second guard “said, ‘You just can’t do this, you’ve got to stop now.'” Brown said. “So we very reverently and quietly stopped what we were doing and complied with his request and quietly exited the park.”

Video posted by an adult on the school field trip sparked outrage and led to an invitation for the students to sing the anthem live on Fox. Brown and principal Trevor Putnam joined the students for their performance at the school.

Brown said her students learned from the experience. “We turned it into a teaching moment and taught them that even if you don’t agree with it, or understand it, you must respect authority,” she said.

Putnam echoed the sentiment in an interview with The Associated Press.

“The lesson learned here is always to respect authority,” the principal said. “And I’m so proud of our kids for conducting themselves the way they did.”

Groups wishing to perform at the Sept. 11 memorial are supposed to pay $35 to apply for a permit, a requirement that the North Carolina group was not aware of.

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