Washington High’s JROTC honors 9/11 victims and heroes with annual flagpole ceremony

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- All over the metro Wednesday, events were planned to honor the heroes of 9/11 and those we lost.

In KCK, Washington High School’s Air Force JROTC program marked Patriot Day with their annual student-led ceremony.

The memorial included a moment of silence, flag lowering, song and speech.

“It is like a big honor because we are really like, we are showing off our program but also rendering a tribute to all the fallen heroes that protected us that faithful day," said Inri Medina, a senior in the JROTC program.

Medina was only one month old during the September 11th attacks.

It was a day that the majority of the 170-plus students taking part in the event were either too young -- or not even alive yet -- to witness.

Medina said only now does he understand the impact the day had on his life and his country.

“Until I got into the ROTC program, I didn’t know much about 9/11. I heard about it throughout school, but didn’t know it was anything past the World Trade Center," senior and Cadet Wing Commander Angel Bailey said.

"It just brings you to tears because a lot of people died. More people died in this than Pearl Harbor, and it was something that was so close to our generation being born."

With 9/11 becoming even more a part of the past, Lt. Colonel Patrick McCormack said it's become increasingly important to make sure the tragedy of the attacks and their role in shaping America is recognized.

“Some years in the past, the kids actually could remember it. Now it is our job to keep the memory alive and keep our people remembering that days like this did happen. And if we are not vigilant, that can happen again," McCormack said.

This is the 14th year the school has held the ceremony and the 28th year the JROTC program has been active at Washington High School.

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