Remembering the nearly 3,000 lives lost 11 years ago, Rocky Point High School’s 11th and 12th-graders marked the anniversary of 9/11 during an in-school program that featured several guest speakers who had firsthand experience of the events.
With many of the students in the audience too young to fully remember and understand the significance of the attacks, presenters helped to paint a picture of what it was like in America immediately following the attacks of 9/11.
Veterans from the Rocky Point VFW Post 6249 posted the nation’s colors, the high school band performed two patriotic pieces, and Tommy Sullivan, founding member of the original Johnny Maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge and former West Point band performer, sang “God Bless the USA.”
“The significance of 9/11 had an impact on us all, and we as a nation were
forever changed as a result of the acts that took place on that day,” said Principal John DeBenedetto.
State of New York Suffolk County SPCA Department Chief Roy Gross also spoke
with the students about the efforts of the rescue dogs that helped out at Ground Zero, as well as his efforts to support these animals today.
“Following the attacks, there were more than 300 animals that came to help with the nation’s search and rescue efforts in New York City. Our mobile unit (MASH) was the first on site to help treat the animals that were assisting…we completed more than 1,000 treatments on both animals and workers during our time there,” stated Chief Gross.
First responder and FealGood Foundation founder and president John Feal
added his experiences during and after 9/11, as well as his work with the government to better support the rescue workers and advocate for the adding of cancer as a possible sickness from working in the conditions at Ground Zero.
“I don’t need to remind anyone of the devastation caused on 9/11, but I do need to remind everyone of those individuals who ran into harm’s way and did not die,” Feal said.
“We were humbled that day. This great nation was knocked to its knees, and for those of us who were there, it was the most horrific thing that we have ever seen in the history of this great nation. But it’s the resolve and a testament to the American people that brought us back.”
Feal also gave students the opportunity to compete for two $1,000 FealGood Foundation scholarships by submitting an essay describing 9/11 and how they can and are volunteering in their community, or how they are making the
U.S. a better nation.
Students also got involved to round out the ceremony as Matt Amoscato and TJ Strazzeri addressed their fellow peers and trumpet players Steven Haeffner and Shawn Countess played “Taps.”