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How much does it cost for a child to sing the National Anthem at the 9/11 Memorial these days? Apparently $35, a lecture from an aggressive security guard, and the erosion of core constitutional rights.

That is the harsh lesson that a group of middle school children from North Carolina learned when they visited the 9/11 Memorial.

The Federalist explains:

A group of schoolchildren from a North Carolina middle school were singing the national anthem during a visit in April to the 9/11 memorial. Halfway through the song, the group was abruptly stopped by a pair of security guards and told to be shut up.

“You just can’t do this,” a security guard barked at the schoolchildren. “You’ve got to stop now.”

In response, Martha Brown, a teacher from the school who was leading the choir, apologized after a male security guard got in her face.

Watch the altercation for yourself:

Click here to see it on Facebook.

The teacher and principal went on to say that this experience taught the children a good lesson in respecting authority.

Really?  I think it taught the children that their freedom of expression – which is supposed to be protected by the Constitution – has been eroded to the point that even a respectful rendition of the National Anthem meant to honor fallen Americans is subject to the whims of the security guards at this memorial.  How ridiculous is it that this museum meant to memorialize the sacrifices of our fellow Americans on 9/11 requires a $35 permit for our children to sing at the memorial? It is outrageous.

What a tragic lesson for our children to have to learn.

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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