New Jersey students honor 9/11 victims with annual art installation

CEDAR GROVE, New Jersey (WABC) -- The nation will pause Wednesday to remember the thousands of people killed in the September 11th attacks, and as they've done for five years now, high school students in one New Jersey town are honoring the victims with a special art installation.

Nearly two decades later, the devastating images of September 11th remain emblazoned in many of our minds, while the overwhelming loss of life still grips countless hearts.

For younger generations born after the World Trade attacks, however, the magnitude of that horrific day can be difficult to grasp.

That is why Cedar Grove High School decided to take this history lesson beyond the boundaries of the classroom -- right into their front lawn.

The project is called Cedar Grove Waves and involves students installing 2,977 flags on the school's lawn, one for each victim killed on 9/11 with the flag of their own country and individual name plates.

"It's crazy to think about all those people, but it's good to do it every year and show we care," senior Lauren Cap said.

The project, inspired by a similar display at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, is led by Cedar Grove resident David Schoner, who wanted students in the community to fully understand the magnitude of the tragedy that took place on September 11th.

"All the kids in our high school right now, no one was born," he said. "And to educate them about what happened that day is so very important."

The 30-inch flags planted by Cedar Grove High School students will remain on the lawn for the next several weeks.

"Everyone has each others' backs in this country," senior Gianna Kubu said. "No matter how different we are, that we'll always be together and we'll all be one."

Schoner was inspired to promote the memorial by the realization that the collective memory of 9/11 may be fading with each new generation.

"Cedar Grove Waves serves two very important purposes," he said. "The first is a solemn yet beautiful way to never forget those who lost their lives, and the second is to teach the students about the magnitude of this national tragedy. Once they see the rows upon rows of flags, each representing a life that was lost, it makes a lasting impression."

Last year, Cedar Grove Waves and the Cedar Grove Board of Education installed a four-foot piece of World Trade Center 9/11 steel to be a part of a permanent display at Cedar Grove High School, to honor the two Cedar Grove victims who died that day.

The permanent monument came courtesy the Port Authority PBA and the World Trade Center Memorial Fund.

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