I was disturbed and saddened to read of the arrest of Jamie Roux at a 9/11 remembrance ceremony that took place in Freeport. Jamie grew up in Freeport; his father, James Roux, was a passenger on one of the planes that terrorists flew into the twin towers.

Jamie certainly had ample reason to be present, to be heard and to be held with compassion and understanding by people in the town he grew up in on the anniversary of his father’s death.

Had Jamie’s father been on the fourth hijacked plane, Jamie might have been in Pennsylvania at the dedication of a memorial that honored his father.

If Jamie lived in New York, he might have been invited to speak, as many of the children of victims of 9/11 are every year.

Instead, he was silenced, removed from a public gathering taking place in a public building and arrested.

America is a great democracy, the “land of the free”; surely our hearts are big enough to include rather than exclude this young man, to listen to him rather than to silence him, to extend our compassion and understanding for his loss on the anniversary of his father’s murder by terrorists.

There is great irony here. The remembrance ceremony focused on the military response to 9/11. It was a disservice to all who serve in the armed forces of this country when a ceremony marking this anniversary included the arrest of one of the victim’s sons when he was exercising his right to freedom of speech.

People serve to preserve our way of life and to uphold our rights, including our right to freedom of speech.

Margie Schoeller