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School choir invited back to 9/11 memorial after being cut off midperformance

A middle school choir has been invited back to perform the national anthem after officials at the Sept. 11 memorial said guards were wrong to interrupt their performance.
/ Source: TODAY

A middle school choir whose performance of the national anthem at the Sept. 11 memorial in New York City was interrupted by security guards has now been invited back to perform.

Officials from the memorial told NBC New York that their staff was wrong for stopping an impromptu performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by 51 seventh- and eighth-graders from Waynesville Middle School in North Carolina on April 20. They also offered an invitation for the students to return and perform.

Video of the incident, filmed by Kelly McMahan, the mother of one of the singers in the choir, Hailey McMahan, 13, was posted on Facebook by Kelly's mother, Connie Scanlon, resulting in an outcry against the guards for stopping the performance.

The security guards told the group their performance could be viewed as a public demonstration and had to be cut short. Groups that want to perform on the Sept. 11 memorial plaza have to pay $35 and apply for a permit with a list of rules, which the Waynesville choir did not do, according to officials.

A spokesperson for the memorial told TODAY they are now working to make sure this doesn't happen again.

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"We turned it into a teaching moment and taught them that even if you don't agree with it, or understand it, you must respect authority," Waynesville teacher Martha Brown told NBC New York.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.