School marks 9/11 with annual ceremony


Ella Shaham , Contributing Writer

Every year, the school holds a ceremony on Alumni Field to honor the victims of 9/11. “Beyond honoring those lost on 9/11, the families affected, those in the HM community affected, and the heroic effort of NYC’s first responders during and after the bombing, the ceremony is also HM’s way of honoring history and the Class of 2011’s decision to create our 9/11 Memorial,” Head of School Tom Kelly wrote in an email. “In order to appreciate the value of a human life, it is only appropriate to respectfully stop and honor the memory of those lost through war, terrorism, or other conflicts,” he wrote.

Director of Public Safety and former NYPD Captain Mike McCaw arranges for the Emerald Society, the NYPD’s bagpipe band, to participate in the ceremony, Kelly wrote. “HM has tried awfully hard to work through several versions of a memorial service only to land on the format you saw today that feels right for our community for several years now,” he wrote. During the annual ceremony, the Emerald Society, composed of Irish-American police officers, marched down the field towards the flagpole playing the bagpipes.

Stephanie Lee (11) watched the ceremony from her classroom. The music brought a sense of positivity to the usually very serious ceremony, she said. “It’s important to always keep this day in our memory, especially since HM is in New York and it probably impacted many in our community.”

Kelly echoed this. “Let’s not forget, 9/11 happened in our own backyard, in fact, many alums continue to talk about that horrific day and one’s feelings when fighter jets flew over Alumni field inbound to New York City,” he wrote. 

Math teacher Tom Petras was on campus on 9/11, and appreciated the flag ceremony and bagpipers, he said. “I vividly remember hearing the news while I was teaching a class of 6th graders,” he said. “It is very nice that the school takes some time to commemorate the day.”