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PS 31 in Bayside honors Bravest, Finest with song

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On Sept. 11, 2002, a brutally windy day in Bayside, the children of PS 31 gathered in the school’s playground to honor the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001.

Some 600 children, grade K through five, serenaded members of the Police Department, Fire Department and the Bayside Volunteer Ambulance. Amid a flurry of American flags, the children sang “God Bless America” and performed a heartfelt musical version of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Not a dry eye could be found when they sang,” What Can You Say to a Hero?” With intensity and innocence, they exclaimed “thank you, thank you!”

“We listened to CNN this morning,” Angela Monda, principal of PS 31 said. “The children heard Gov. Pataki recite the Gettysburg Address, and we observed the moment of silence. We will never forget, but we will now move on.”

At the close of the ceremony, teachers handed each child a small bundle of red, white and blue flowers. The children then walked to Bell Boulevard, and passed their flowers to police officers and firefighters, who secured them to the fence.

“There is one flower for each victim,” Monda said.

The wind picked up as the commemorative ceremony ended. Smiling, the heroes waved goodbye to the children. The children shrieked and giggled as the wind nearly blew them back into school.

And on the fence facing Bell Boulevard, red, white and blue flowers, symbols of patriotism, gratitude and grief, were blasted by powerful winds. Some could not hang on, and were carried into the sky. Others remained. Just like the heroes.

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