The Smithtown Central School district marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11 within each of its schools, including by holding tree-planting ceremonies at both high schools on Friday.
The somber ceremonies served as reminders to never forget those who died on that tragic day and also to recognize the sacrifice made by first responders and rescue workers who have since passed away from related illnesses.
High School East’s ceremony took place at 10 a.m., with a similar ceremony following at High School West at noon.
In both ceremonies, a matching blue spruce tree provided by a local nursery was planted in remembrance, with students participating in the planting of the trees.
The Smithtown, St. James and Nesconset fire departments and color guards as well as members of American Legion Post 833 and VFW Post 10870 attended.
A moment of silence also was observed.
The ceremony at High School West took place at a garden created shortly after 9/11, which displays a steel beam from the World Trade Center.
“I’m both honored and humbled to be with you today for this very special ceremony,” superintendent Mark Secaur told students and other attendees during the earlier ceremony. “… It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since that fateful day — a day when all gave some, and some gave all. It was a day mixed with honor and horror as well as sacrifice and selflessness. Today we honor the memories of the lives lost that day as well as those lost in the years since.”