JROTC Holds 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • Cadets stand at attention while the flags are taken inside. The upperclassmen are dressed in their class D uniforms while freshman are dressed in class H uniforms.

  • The upperclassmen cadets lower the flags as the freshmen cadets salute. This is the first event the freshmen are doing as a core.

  • Owen Darden ’20 lowers the flags with the help of three other cadets. JROTC takes the flags down every day after school, though most days only three cadets in total do the job.

  • Corey Morrison ’20 leads the freshman through the ceremony. Morrison has been in JROTC for four years.

  • Chase Short ’20 gives a speech at the ceremony. He talks about how we should take some time to honor the lives that were lost during 9/11.

  • Sophia Castaneda ’20 plays Taps on the trumpet. Even though she’s not in JROTC, she was asked to play for the ceremony. “I’m really happy I could be a part of it and it was such an honor,” Castaneda ’20 said.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right

A somber crowd of parents, staff, and students attended the Junior Officer Reserve Training Corps (JROTC) memorial service on Sept. 11, marking the the 18 year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As a slight breeze cooled the crowd, the ceremony got underway.

It began with a speech by Cadet Colonel Chase Short ‘20, soon followed by the JROTC Color Guard entering to the sound of a bugle. As the JROTC stood at attention, the American and Texas flags were raised and lowered from half-staff. The ceremony was then concluded as the Colorguard retreated into the school.

“My speech was mainly about the remembrance and dedication of our ceremony to those that have fallen and died during 9/11,” Cadet Colonel Short said. “And our point was retrieving the flag with our detail so we could solemnly lower it to the national anthem and respectfully fold [the flag].”

A significant amount of time went into preparing for the ceremony by all JROTC members, from the speaker and bugler to the rank and file members.

“There was a select group of people chosen to speak or to play the trumpet so they were practicing [the order of events] yesterday,” Cadet Master Sergeant Sebastian Dobek ‘22 said. “ We were preparing our uniform [and] we have also been practicing our drill, making sure we got our facing movements correct during school.”

A different cadet, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, explained the lead up to the event.

“There were a lot of things we used from past years. There was [also] a practice day, [which was] the day before the ceremony where the key personnel ran through everything,” the cadet said.

The commemorative ceremony gives JROTC a chance to show their patriotism and to build pride.

“It does increase our moral, it shows our patriotism and it does motivate us in the core and people who see it remember it,” Cadet Master Sergeant Dobek said.

The ceremony also has a much greater meaning and purpose in a national and historical context.

“[The ceremony] is to commemorate the lives that were taken on Sept. 11, 2001 when the terrorists hit our country,” Aerospace Science Instructor Senior Master Sergeant Walter Hoddges said.“ It’s also so that we won’t forget the sacrifices that the first responders made and the military members that were impacted and the lives that were impacted shortly after that attack made in the United States of America.”

The ceremony allowed the Westwood community a place to gather and remember the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It also provided a fitting end to a school day marked by the events of 18 years ago.