O say can you see that singing the national anthem is not allowed here? That was the message delivered to a group of children at the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan last week.
A group of schoolchildren from a North Carolina middle school were singing the national anthem during a visit in April to the 9/11 memorial. Halfway through the song, the group was abruptly stopped by a pair of security guards and told to be shut up.
“You just can’t do this,” a security guard barked at the schoolchildren. “You’ve got to stop now.”
In response, Martha Brown, a teacher from the school who was leading the choir, apologized after a male security guard got in her face.
And what was the school’s big takeaway from the altercation? Did the students learn about how the First Amendment protects their right to free expression? Did school administrators use this as an opportunity to teach the students about why the Constitution exists?
Martha Brown, the choir leader, and Trevor Putnam, the school’s principal, said the main thing the students learned was that in America, they must kowtow to the authority of unelected bureaucratic thugs:
“We turned it into a teaching moment and taught them that even if you don’t agree with it, or understand it, you must respect authority,” she said.
Mr. Putnam echoed the sentiment.
“The lesson learned here is always to respect authority,” the principal said in a telephone interview. “And I’m so proud of our kids for conducting themselves the way they did.”
Crystal Mulvey, a parent who accompanied her daughter on the trip, said she was shocked that the guard interrupted the national anthem because “it’s kind of a sacred song to us.” But, she added, “On the flip side, I completely understand following rules.”
Officials say a $35 permit is required to sing at the memorial. Freedom of expression, it appears, now costs $35.