Waynesville Middle students halted in middle of song performance at 9/11 Memorial

Video still of the Waynesville Middle School chorus singing at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. (Photo credit: Connie Shepherd Scanlon)

WAYNESVILLE, N.C. -- A local community is outraged after a local children's chorus is order to stop singing the National Anthem.

The Waynesville Middle School chorus is visiting New York City as part of an educational trip. The group was singing outside of the 9/11 Memorial when they were asked to stop midway through the performance.

According to the 9/11 Memorial's website, groups wanting to perform first must get a permit. The Waynesville students didn't have a permit, but did get a verbal okay from a security guard.

"Basically they performed approximately half of the National Anthem, and they were told by security to cease and desist. And they, of course, complied immediately," said Waynesville Middle School principal Trevor Putnam.

He added that security "explained to them that they treat that (area) as a burial site."

Someone on the trip posted the video of the performance on Facebook and others immediately started commenting and sharing. Many say the students shouldn't have been interrupted.

"I think it's terrible, being a veteran of such," said Bill Bright. Marian Anderson agreed, saying, " That's just not right, not a good way to promote patriotism."

Putnam calls in an unfortunate situation. "I hate that our kids didn't get to finish," he said.

However, he says he's proud of the students making their mark in New York, just as they do in the mountains. "If I'm having a bad day at school, I will go by there and listen to them sing. They have angelic voices and I love to hear them sing."

The Waynesville Middle School Chorus will return to the Mountains on Saturday.

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