BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. — Students in Glen Rock, Ramsey and Ho-Ho-Kus joined more than 200,000 students nationwide in a simultaneous "Star-Spangled Banner Sing-A-Long" to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11, an event that organizers believe set a new word's record.
Organized by the American Public Education Foundation , the sing-along united students nationwide virtually to learn the meaning of the American flag and the first stanza of the National Anthem.
"It was a great way to bring everyone together," said Andrea Tahinos, communications director for the Glen Rock School District.
Glen Rock students from kindergarten to senior year joined voices around the country at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, 10 a.m. Pacific Time.
"I kept hearing that teachers didn't know what to do [for the anniversary of 9/11]," said Mia Toschi, a four-time Emmy winning reporter who is the APEF's national director for strategic partnerships.
"When you think about what the national anthem is...the line —'that our flag was still there' — symbolizes the resilience of the American spirit," Toschi said. "Whether it was in 1812 or 2001, Americans came together and made this country great.
"That's what I wanted the kids to know."
Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner" as a poem while watchig British ships bombard Fort McHenry, MD, during the War of 1812. An act of Congress made it the National Anthem in 1931
Although it has four stanzas, the most commonly sung stanza is the first.
More than 18,500 students across New Jersey participated in the event. Special guests included the family of fallen Afghanistan War veteran Staff Sgt. Timothy McGill in Ramsey and former New York Giant Steven Baker in Ho-Ho-Kus.
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