CEDAR GROVE, NJ – For the second year in a row, Cedar Grove High School’s front lawn is covered with flags in memory of the 2,977 victims of the 9/11 terror attacks. The brainchild of Cedar Grove resident David Schoner has become an annual tradition that honors and remembers lives lost while educating students who are too young to remember that fateful September day.
“I wanted to create something that could honor the victims and start a conversation between kids and parents and the community,” Schoner said. “The first year came together quite fast with such positive success - way beyond what we could have imagined. I was truly humbled by it.”
Last year, Schoner brought the idea to the Board of Education after seeing a similar display at Pepperdine University and received approval to create the project. It was done in conjunction with the school, with students placing the flags during their gym class followed by a historical presentation of the events of September 11, 2001 in the school auditorium.
Due to construction, Cedar Grove Schools do not open until Sept. 12 this year, so Schoner had to recruit volunteers from the community, the local Boy Scouts and CGHS students through the All School Council.
“When Mr. Gallagher told us about the Cedar Grove Waves project, all of us got very excited because it was a community effort and we got to give back and honor and remember everyone who died on 9/11,” All School Council president Samuel Almodovar said.
The installation of the project takes approximately five days to complete. Schoner began on Sept. 6 by laying a grid using twine and stakes. Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers, Inc. of Livingston donated their services to design the layout required for the flag installation.
Once the grid is in place, volunteers from CGHS drilled holes into the grass for each of the 2,977 flags and the flags were placed by community volunteers. This year Schoner added individual markers with the victims' names on them in front of their country’s flags. The names were placed alphabetically and a grid is available so people can locate individual victim's names. Schoner also added six flags this year to represent the six victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Cedar Grove Waves will remain on the CGHS front lawn through Sept. 23.