Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Remembrance and Reflection: Passaic

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Remembrance and Reflection: Passaic

Article excerpt

Members of the high school's Navy Junior ROTC program were the first to arrive at the 9/11 remembrance Wednesday morning, marching across the City Hall plaza nearly an hour before the ceremony began. All of them were teenagers, too young to recall much about the terrorist attacks that changed their world.

But this remembrance, now 12 years after that terrible day, was as much about moving forward as looking back. For this group of young people in military uniforms, the ceremony was a chance to learn from their elders who choose not to forget.

One of the teens, Rey Thomas, 16, would be playing Taps in public for the first time. His platoon leader, a gray-haired retired U.S. Coast Guard veteran, Lt. Harry Sponder, wanted to make sure Thomas understood the moment.

"Does anyone know why we play Taps?" he asked the kids. "It's a very sad song. …

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