History Through a Firsthand Perspective

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Rocky Point High School held its annual memorial ceremony that honored the victims and heroes of 9/11 on Sept. 13, including four Rocky Point High School graduates. The assembly program featured guest speakers and recollections of the day that changed the course of American history.

Organized by social studies teacher Rich Acritelli, high school students and staff members listened intently as honored guests – Lila Nordstrom, an advocate for affordable health care for young adults affected by 9/11, New York City Police Officers and first responders Anthony Flammia and Tom Wilson and Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. – shared comprehensive and personal accounts of heroism as well as the physical and emotional after-effects of that tragic day.

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard presented the colors at the ceremony and members of Post 6249 Rocky Point Veterans of Foreign Wars were in attendance. Senior Tyler Kotarsky, president of the high school’s Varsity Club, also addressed the audience and honored guests. “Boatlift,” a short documentary about people who risked their own lives helping to rescue more than 500,00 by sea immediately following the World Trade Center attacks highlighted American’s strong determination and inclination to help one another. The touching tribute ended with songwriter Alan Jackson’s emotional song “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning.”

“It is extremely important that we recall the moment that our nation was attacked and remember our four lost graduates,” said Mr. Acritelli. “I would like to thank high school administration for supporting and helping this assembly become a very strong program for our students.”