The Lynbrook Owls commemorated the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with a day of reflection and remembrance on Saturday, which included the high school’s first varsity football game of the season. There was a patriotic theme throughout the festivities, which included a fundraiser that netted more than $2,500 for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, left a lasting impact on the Lynbrook community, which continues to honor the memory of those who died that day. The Owls defeated Valley Stream South High School, 41-6, at Marion Street Elementary School to open their season with a win on an emotional day.
“Having our first game of the 2021 season at home on Sept. 11 was very special and memorable,” said head coach Stephen Locicero, who also teaches history.
On the eve of the game, coaches shared their personal accounts of where they were on 9/11 with the team. At the game, each coach donned a hat with NYPD or FDNY embroidered on them, as well as T-shirts with the words, “Lynbrook Never Forgets” written across them. The LHS Student Government Association distributed the shirts.
In all, the SGA sold more than 500 shirts and raised over $2,500. All profits were donated to the Tunnels to Towers Foundation, a charity that honors military and first responders. The foundation has committed more than $250 million to its various programs, including a 9/11 educational exhibit, as well as programs to build mortgage-free homes for injured veterans and first responders and to ensure stability and security for families of fallen officers.
“We wanted to create a sense of unity among our Lynbrook families,” SGA adviser Mary Kirby said.
At the Sept. 1 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak emphasized the importance of unity.
“We take pride in the fact that the Lynbrook School District is a community,” Burak said. “We want to use that strength … and make it a special event for those who suffered as a result of 9/11.”
There were several festivities planned around the football game, including a ceremony that was organized by the Demonte and Gilmartin families. LHS senior Jaden Harvin performed the national anthem at the start of the football game, which he said was “an incredible honor.” Players then ran onto the field with American flags in a display of patriotic spirit. At halftime, members of the SGA delivered a poignant speech honoring all those who died on 9/11 and read the names of fallen Lynbrook alumni and residents.
“Among those who lost their lives were five LHS alumni,” President Emma Leighley said. “Dennis Buckley, class of 1981; Morty Frank, class of 1988; Aram Iskenderian, class of 1978; Patrick O’Keefe, class of 1975; Glen Wall, class of 1980.”
Players and spectators then stood and joined in a moment of silence.
The Lynbrook varsity kickline team also performed a special halftime routine to “Proud to Be an American” by Lee Greenwood, choreographed by senior Karoline Ryf and junior Alexandra Spector. The dancers sported shirts with the American flag.
“LVK never forgets the sacrifices our service members made that day, as well as the people who unfortunately lost their lives,” coach Danielle Goodwin said.
Added coach Stacy Benson, “We want everyone to know how proud we are to be part of such a special, tight-knit community.”