Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Oh, Say Can They Sing

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Oh, Say Can They Sing

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD -- With drums tapping and trumpets buzzing, students at Alfred S. Faust Intermediate School belted out "The Star- Spangled Banner" on Friday, while children at schools across the country simultaneously did the same.

The nationwide singalong of the national anthem was initiated by the 9/12 Generation Project, the educational division of the New York Says Thank You Foundation. It teaches students about the kindness, diversity and volunteerism that evolved after 9/11.

About 500 schools from Kentucky, Texas, California and other states assembled at 1 p.m., Eastern time, and sang at least the first stanza of the four-stanza poem written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key after he watched British ships bombard Baltimore's Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

Mia Toschi, national director of the 9/12 Generation Project, said she got the idea to organize the singalong because of the 200th anniversary of "The Star-Spangled Banner." It was a way to demonstrate the coming together that occurred following 9/11, she said.

Toschi, a Glen Rock resident, was a reporter working near Wall Street on Sept. 11, 2001. She lost nine friends that day.

"I think 9/11 was the worst day," she said, "but in many ways 9/ 12 was the best day."

Many of the children who are in school now were not born in 2001 or were too young to remember. "It's hard to educate them without scaring them," Toschi said. "The goal of 9/12 is to inspire kids to do an act of kindness based on 9/12 when the world came together."

Students at Faust Intermediate School in East Rutherford on Friday got a surprise when they assembled for the singalong. Retired Giants wide receiver Stephen "Touchdown Maker" Baker visited the school, which is one of 10 in the area being sponsored by the Giants.

Schools pay $100 annually to be part of the 9/12 Generation Project, for which they receive a documentary film the group produces about efforts to rebuild communities that are hit by disasters, and ideas for service projects, online resources and a teachers' guide. …

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