The management at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City has now indicated that a pair of security guards acted improperly last week when they ordered a group of North Carolina middle school students to stop their choral rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The guards had told the 51 Waynesville Middle School students — and a teacher conducting them — that their outburst of patriotism honoring dead Americans required a $35 performance permit. Also, it turns out, the 9/11 Memorial — which reportedly spends $60 million each year to operate itself — takes 10 days to process each permit.
“The guard did not respond appropriately,” memorial spokeswoman Kaylee Skaar said, according to Reuters. “We are working with our security staff to ensure that this will not happen again. We reached out to the school to express our regret for how this was handled and asked the principal to share that with the students.”
On Wednesday, Facebook user Connie Shepherd Scanlon posted video of the national-anthem-banning guards facing off against the students, who ranged in age from 11 to 14 years old.
“You have to stop. This is considered a public demonstration!” one of the guards shouted at the America-loving students from Waynesville Middle School students the small, hilly town of Waynesville, N.C.
The students had been in New York City for a multiday educational trip.
Scanlon’s video went seriously viral over the weekend. (VIDEO: Guards Demand That Middle School Choir GET PERMIT To Sing National Anthem AT 9/11 MEMORIAL)
Skaar, the 9/11 Memorial spokeswoman, invited the choir members back to the memorial to have another go at belting out the hymn to freedom and heroism that expresses America’s patriotic soul.
Waynesville Middle School principal Trevor Putnam noted that a second 1,400-mile round trip to Manhattan is unlikely this year, especially since the students only just got back.
Putnam was also exceedingly gracious.
“This was a good civics lesson,” he said, according to Reuters. “Why are there limits put in place in public forums?”
“I was really proud of our kids,” the principal added. “They were asked to stop and did so respectfully.”
Putnam added that next year’s New York City tour group will obtain a permit to sing the ” The Star-Spangled Banner” at the 9/11 Memorial.
One of the adults with the group has said that a security guard had told the Waynesville students and their choral conductor that it was OK to sing.
All told, the 9/11 Memorial’s set of rules and regulations contains 4,378 words.
By way of comparison, the U.S. Constitution contains about 4,500 words.
The multitude of rules proscribes bags of certain sizes, bans all sports-related activity (and chewing gum, and bathing and gambling).
The Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks killed 2,996 people on American soil. Nineteen terrorists carried out the al-Qaida-masterminded attacks.