As the nation remembers the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, many schools are now filled with students who were born after the tragedy. To learn, reflect and ensure that students are aware of the impact of the 2001 attacks, cadets in the East High School Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program marked the occasion with a flag ceremony.
Bugles sounded as the uniformed JROTC Color Guard cadets marched in formation with their sabers and ceremoniously raised the United States and Colorado flags to the top of the pole, then back down to rest at half-staff in honor of the 3,000 civilians and first responders who lost their lives that day. Hundreds of East High School students and educators joined the cadets outside the entrance of the school for a moment of observance.
“I feel proud that I can be a part of this tradition and honor my country,” said Frankie Trader, JROTC Brigade Commander and East High School senior. “I don’t remember Sept. 11. I was only 6 months old at the time, but I’ve been learning about it since I was a kid, and I’m just astounded by the tragedy and utter loss of life. It’s so important to remember those people and remember their lives.”
“It’s important to me as an American, a citizen and as the future to remember Sept. 11,” added Levi Ortega, JROTC Battalion
Commander and fellow East High School senior. “We learn a lot from family members on days like this. You can look around and see on people’s faces how it has affected America. That’s why it’s so important for us to remember the fallen.”
Denver Public Schools offers the JROTC program to high school students. The program teaches character education, student achievement, health and wellness, leadership and diversity. In addition to promoting citizenship, JROTC also prepares students for options after high school including college or the workforce. Through cadet-run programs and team competitions, students learn invaluable professional skills like leadership, teamwork, time-management, self-discipline and communication.