Students build tribute to 9/11 victims on 18th anniversary

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CEDAR GROVE, NJ. (CBS News) – As communities across the country remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, a group of New Jersey high school students, who weren’t alive when the attacks happened, are doing their part to never forget. The students planted 2,977 flags on the front lawn of Cedar Grove High School in New Jersey, one for each person killed in the terrorist attacks.

Junior Brian Catanzarite doesn’t remember that day because he wasn’t alive 18 years ago, but the display helps convey the impact on so many lives. Catanzarite says, “Not only is it a person, it’s like the whole family. So you just want to keep in mind why you’re doing it and who you’re doing it for.”

The display hits close to home for Senior Francesca Catrone. Her father has told her about working downtown on September 11. Catrone said, “He saw the buildings collapse. And to think that this could be happening right now, in real life, and to put that into perspective, anything could happen in the blink of an eye.”

Now in its fifth year, the ‘Cedar Grove Waves’ art installation was organized by resident and parent David Schoner. “When you come here, you see the magnitude of every flag, it stays with you and it causes a conversation,” said Schoner. A four-foot piece of steel from the remnants of the world trade center was added to the project last year.

The conversation continues inside the school where students get involved in presentations for their classmates. The principal of the school, Richard Mangili, said it’s an important part of the school’s September 11 remembrance, “We want to help educate students and never forget our victims.”

Cedar Grove students are also learning where their responsibility begins. Catanzarite acknowledges that as the students get older, it will be their job to pass on the story of what happened, and the flags honoring the victims will help them tell the story.

The entire project, which takes 8-10 days to assemble, will remain in place for the next several weeks.

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