NEW YORK – A middle school chorus’ impromptu performance of the National Anthem outside of the 9/11 Memorial this week provided students with an interesting lesson on how big government works.
The Waynesville Middle School chorus was visiting the memorial from North Carolina and stopped at the 9/11 Memorial Wednesday. The group asked a security guard if they could sing the National Anthem and was granted permission, WLOS reports.
Apparently, simply asking for permission isn’t the proper procedure.
“WMS chorus singing @ Twin Towers Memorial. They stopped them half the way thru,” parent Connie Shepherd Scanlon posted to Facebook, along with a video of the incident.
In the video, the large group of teens are singing along and about the time they reached “bombs bursting in air …,” two security guards – a white man and black woman – confronted the group. The kids stopped singing as the guards approached the chorus director, at which point the video cuts out.
“Basically they performed approximately half of the National Anthem, and they were told by security to cease and desist. And they, of course, complied immediately,” Waynesville Middle School Principal Trevor Putnam told WLOS. “Later, another security guard tells them ‘no, you can’t do that,’ and explained to them that they treat that as a burial site.”
“I hate that our kids didn’t get to finish,” he said.
Groups must obtain an official permit to sing at the memorial, according to its website, which also contains several pages of other rules.
Waynesville resident Bill Bright told the news site he thinks it was wrong for security to stop the students.
“I think that’s terrible, being a veteran and such,” he said.
“We’re trying to instill the history of our country – the importance of our country – so why stop them from singing the National Anthem?” another unidentified woman said
“That’s not right,” another Waynesville resident, Marian Anderson, told WLOS. “That’s not a good way to promote patriotism.”
Putnam said he doesn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to hear the middle school chorus.
“If I’m having a bad day at school, I will go by there and listen to them sing,” he said. “They have angelic voices and I love to hear them sing.”
Folks who commented about the situation online had a variety of reactions.
“So we can’t be Americans and show our respect to those fallen in an attack against our country? I was at one time in this chorus, we were always very respectful and just wanted to sing,” Dustin Nelson posted to Facebook.
“The National Anthem should be allowed to be played or sung in any public place. This is America, our country and everyone should be proud of it!” Suzanne Hendrix added.
Derek Campbell pointed out that “the government cannot fix I-26 in near 10 years, but will shut down signing kids in less than a minute.”