Remembering the Good and the Bad: Kinnelon High Schools Annual 9/11 Ceremony

Kinnelon High School’s annual 9/11 ceremony


Juliana Marston

On Sept. 11, Kinnelon High School had their annual 9/11 ceremony just after 8 a.m. when the planes hit the World Trade Center Towers.

On September 11, 2001, the entire nation held its breath as the news of terrorist attacks swept through every household, panic following each newscast. American citizens remember this day, those who were lost, and the uniting efforts made by the U.S. government and citizens alike in light of the country’s peril. “The tragic event of 9/11 is not a one-day event or even a one-year event, it is a lifelong event that will affect people around the world their entire lives,” says vice principal Vincent Shivas.

Each year, Kinnelon High School holds a ceremony in remembrance of these things, allowing a safe space for those who were alive during that time to share their stories and grief, as well as inform those who were not, so that they can further understand what occurred.   

“The most important part of the ceremony was hearing others speak about their stories,” says senior Alexa Giacoio.  “It’s really hard to talk about it and having others from the community get together makes it extremely special each year.”

“Most of us weren’t here for 9/11,” said sophomore Katie Nieto, “and only have the memories of our parents and where they were on that day. But the fact that the students care enough to talk about something as emotional as this and choose to remember and to keep this memory in their hearts was very touching to me.”

Though students may not have the same ties to this day that parents and adults do, they can still express their emotions and keep the memories related to them alive. “9/11 directly impacted many families in our community. The more people we can get involved in the ceremony and speak about their stories, the more likely the younger generation will remember and understand what happened and the impact it had not only on Kinnelon but also the world,” says  Shivas.

I believe that we should be more educated on such an impactful day every year.”

— Alexa Giacoio

The involvement of both the school and town community reflects the day’s importance. “The inclusion of student-leaders, musicians, vocalists, faculty and community members adds relevance to the fact that we are all one body working together to honor, mourn and respect a relevant historical tragedy,” says principal Gary Suda.

The ceremony itself has various parts, starting with a summary of the tragedy and then moment of silence throughout the school to give students a moment to reflect on this day. “The moment of silence is always so important, and as students that weren’t alive during the time, I believe that we should be more educated on such an impactful day every year,” says Giacoio. 

CBS News

In remembering both the tragedies and unity that spread throughout the U.S. on this day, the memories of those who died live on, and the entire nation can take steps to ensure such devastation does not occur in the future. “Reflecting upon the history of the event, with our proximity to New York, and the impact the tragedy had on Kinnelon, New Jersey, and the region, make the chronological reading of the events powerful,” says Suda.