TUPPER LAKE - To honor the 10th anniversary of 9/11, more than 1,000 students, faculty and staff members of the Tupper Lake Central School District gathered Friday morning to form a gigantic American flag on a field at L.P. Quinn Elementary School.
Teacher Ted Merrihew had the idea to do the same thing 10 years ago, shortly after the terrorist attacks, after hearing about another school doing it. They did it then, and they did again Friday.
All the middle/high school students were bussed to L.P. Quinn Friday morning, and they and the elementary school students were lead to the field, where Merrihew had set up stakes and string in a 100-by-52-foot rectangle to mark where people should stand.
Tupper Lake Central School District students, faculty and staff say the Pledge of Allegiance together Friday morning while forming an American flag on a field at the L.P. Quinn Elementary School to commemorate 9/11.
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)
The seniors were instructed to wear blue, the rest of the even-numbered grades wore white, and the odd-numbered grades wore red. Support staff and faculty were similarly dressed.
"We just filled everybody in," Merrihew said. "It just happened to work."
Once they were all assembled, district Superintendent Seth McGowan had all everyone recite the Pledge of Allegiance. He said that to his knowledge, it was the first time every student, faculty and staff member in the district had come together to recite the pledge in the same place at the same time.
"It's a tremendous moment here in Tupper Lake," McGowan said.
McGowan told students that they were forming the flag to thank the men and women who serve the country in the armed forces and on police, rescue and fire squads throughout the area.
"Our focus today is to remember there are people in our community who have to protect us, and this is our way of thanking them," McGowan told the school community through a bullhorn.
They gave those people a round of applause as a way of thanks.
Merrihew was lifted up in a village Municipal Electric Department bucket truck to take a photo of the flag from above.
McGowan didn't let members of the press go in the bucket. He said he wants to present copies of the photo from overhead to local veterans, police, the rescue squad and the fire department before he makes it public.
As the students and staff were dismissed back to their classes, a group of students started chanting, "USA! USA! USA!"
Contact Jessica Collier at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.