Queens Students Reflect on Victims of Terror Attacks

History came to life this week as some local students paid tribute to the victims of two separate attacks more than 80 years apart. NY1's Clodagh McGowan filed the following report.

For some local seventh and eighth-grade students, 9/11 is a page from their history books.

All were born after the terror attacks on the World Trade Center took place.

"We learned how it happened and what happened after that and how it affected so many people," said Ryla Pasaoa, a student at Immaculate Conception Catholic Academy.

The Immaculate Conception Catholic Academy students paid tribute to all of the September 11th victims Wednesday and also to the 38 victims of another lesser-known attack on New York City--the 1920 Wall Street bombing.

The students say that page in history and its victims are all but forgotten.

But they're hoping to change that.

"No one else really remembers it, there’s no memorial about it. And we thought we should take it up on ourselves to actually do it," said Jason Bacalla, an eighth-grader.

Just after noon on September 16, 1920, a horse-drawn cart carrying a bomb exploded in front of the JP Morgan building on Wall Street. No one was ever found responsible but the FBI now classifies the case as a terrorist attack.

History teacher Carl Ballenas says it’s important to educate students about these events.

"This is the best way to do it. To learn about the past, which affects our future, our present and our future," said Ballenas.

Ballenas is also the Maple Grove cemetery historian. He recently discovered that one of the 38 victims from the 1920 Wall Street bombing is buried here.

Rudolf Portong, a World War I vet and a Richmond Hill resident was working as a bank clerk, when the blast occurred.

"So, we're bringing back their life stories,” explained Ballenas. “We're saying his name, we said his name today and people shouldn't forget."

The students are happy to share what they've learned about the victims.

"They were hard workers, members of families that are missed," said Johnathan Overton, an eighth-grader.  

Most importantly, the kids are doing their part to keep the memories alive.​

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