Here’s another instance of New York values for you: school kids can’t sing the national anthem at the 9/11 Memorial, unless they pay $35 for a permit. On April 22, the school choir of North Carolina’s Waynesville Middle School thought they were engaging in a harmless and patriotic exercise of singing the national anthem. Apparently, two security guards thought otherwise, and stopped them about midway through their rendition. The teacher, Martha Brown, and the students thought it would be a nice gesture to show their respect for the victims of our nation’s most terrible terrorist attack. She did tell the guard that they did not have written permission to sing, but got verbal approval from another security guard earlier that day.
Needless to say, it’s a disgrace. This wasn’t a demonstration akin to those we’ve seen from Occupy Wall Street–those were terrible. It was the national anthem. As such, the park has issued an apology over the incident, and the school has been invited back (via CBS New York):
“They actually asked when are we going to sing? Are we going to sing? I said, ‘Well, we hadn’t planned on it, let me go check with the security guard,'” choir teacher Martha Brown told CBS2’s Raegan Medgie.
A spokesperson for the memorial said the situation was mishandled and that they are working with the security staff to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The spokesperson has apologized to the group.
Brown said one security guard at the memorial plaza had given the students permission to sing, but another guard told them to stop.
“Lots of people gathered around to listen and we thought the security guard who stopped us, we thought he was coming … so he could hear better,” Brown said.
Brown said the security guard told them they needed a license to sing.
“I can’t remember his exact words, but he did use the terminology, ‘This could be defined as a public demonstration, you’re going to have to stop unless you have a license, and I don’t see you on a list for today,'” Brown explained.
The choir has been invited back for another visit.
As for the kids, they’re class acts and are not angry at the incident. Still, saying the situation was “mishandled” by the security staff is an understatement.