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JROTC honors Fallen Heroes

World War II veterans Fred Conrod and Andy Buglione meet with attendees at the Fallen Heroes ceremony in the courtyard Nov. 9. Many asked for photos and thanked them for their service.

The annual Fallen Heroes Ceremony on Nov. 9 during second block reminded students of the great sacrifices that America’s soldiers have made to protect the United States from terrorist organizations that strive to end our way of life.

JROTC coordinated this event, holding various activities and services that showcased the thousands soldiers who have died in the war on terrorism that began in 2001.

“We display all 6,902 flags, and each flag has the fallen heroes’ information on them: their name, the day they died, where they died,” battalion executive officer Marrina Guadagnino said. “We have a replica of the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier, an all service color-guard, 21-gun (salute), burning of the flag (as part of its retirement ceremony), presentation of the wreath.”

Multiple guests, some of whom served in previous wars, attended the event and spoke about their experiences in the conflicts.

“We invite all of the veteran teachers,” Guadagnino said. “We also invite school board members, the mayor,… World War II veterans, Korean vets, Vietnam vets…”

JROTC students encouraged students and staff members to attend the ceremony to pay their respects and honor those who have died to keep them out of harm’s way.

“We do it to represent all of those who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom that we enjoy today,” 1st Sgt. Ayanna Williams said. “In my eyes, it’s showing them that they didn’t die for nothing and there are still people here that care about them and who are willing to go that extra mile for them.”

The ceremony also sought to remind students of the dark truth about what’s currently happening in the world: the death and destruction caused by terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and ISIS.

“I think we’re having it (the ceremony) to show… all those who might not be able to see the ultimate price that was paid, and bring to light what is actually taking place and what is actually transpiring,” Williams said. “It shows them that war is real and the price that these people paid is real.”

Members of JROTC took great pride hosting such an influential and significant event at the school, believing that it is not only for a great cause, but it also benefits them.

“I think it (the Fallen Heroes ceremony) is good for the entire battalion,” Cadet Nylia Walters said. “It teaches leadership, I think it really brings the school together.”

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