Queens lawmakers’ bill creating a 9/11 day of remembrance in public schools gets Cuomo’s signature

The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are shown in this photo of the Manhattan skyline taken prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
File photo/Shutterstock

Legislation sponsored by two Queens lawmakers that mandates all public schools observe the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with moments of silence and classroom discussions was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday.

The new law, effective immediately across the state just two days before the 18th anniversary of the day of infamy, encourages dialogue and education in the classroom to ensure future generations have an understanding of the terrorist attacks and their place in history.

“9/11 was one of the single darkest periods in the state’s and this nation’s history, and we owe it to those we lost and to the countless heroes who ran towards danger that day and the days that followed to do everything we can to keep their memory alive,” Cuomo said. “Be establishing this annual day of remembrance and a brief moment of silence in public schools, we will help ensure we never forget, not just the pain of that moment but of the courage, sacrifice and outpouring of love that defined our response.”

Workers on the pile at Ground Zero during the recovery effort after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks (Beth A. Keiser/AP)

State Senator Joseph Addabbo said the significance of the tragic events, whether it be the loss of loved ones or the largest rescue operation the nation ever witnessed, should not be lost by school students who are too young to have witnessed it themselves.

“The average school-age citizen in New York may have no personal recollection of these events, having not yet been born in 2001, making it imperative that our public education system take the time to educate students in both the loss and heroism experienced on 9/11,” Addabbo said. “By mandating a moment of reflection every year on the September 11th Remembrance Day, we are encouraging dialogue and education in the classroom, and ensuring that future generations will better understand this day and its place in history. Many families within my district were deeply impacted by the tragic events of 9/11 and I certainly had them in mind when working on this legislation.”

The bill was passed in the lower chamber by Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato. Both Amato and Addabbo represent portions of southwest Queens.

“Students graduating from high school in 2019 were just newborns during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and soon there will be no students in the national public school system born at the time of 9/11,” she said. “By mandating a brief moment of silent reflection every year, we may ensure that future generations will better understand this day and its significance in our history. Governor Cuomo understands the importance of educating our children about our state and country’s history.”

Addabbo added, “Since 2001, our country has been united through four simple words, ‘We will never forget’ and with the governor signing this measure, we can ensure that all school children will continue to keep those words active in their hearts and minds.”