Pleasanton High School JROTC Remembers Patriot Day:
The Pleasanton High School Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) helped students, faculty, veterans, and community members remember the 13th Anniversary of the events of September 11th 2001. In their second annual Patriot Day Remembrance Ceremony held on Thursday, September 11th, 130 cadets remembered the 2,977 victims of the terrorist attacks on the United States and the families and friends who continue to mourn their loss. Under the command of Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Priscilla Hernandez, the cadets dedicated the ceremony to the Nation’s Armed Forces and the “First Responders.” Also, the cadets provided all attendees with a yellow ribbon, a symbol of care and support for those defending our Nation and its values.
“Today is not an anniversary we will ever celebrate, but one we should never forget” said Cadet Major Mark Paez, Eagle Battalion Operations Officer and Pleasanton senior, who served as master of ceremonies.“This morning’s ceremony is about remembering and honoring those who were injured or killed during the September 11th terrorist attacks” adds Paez
Cadet Paez went on to further explain why Patriot Day is recognized, the meaning of flying the flags at half-staff and the history of Taps.
Two special guest speakers honored the Ceremony with their remarks. Firstly, Cadet First Lieutenant Michael Canales, Pleasanton student/cadet and Fire Chief for the “Explorers” or junior volunteers for the City of Poteet Volunteer Fire Department shared his thoughts on being a “First Responder” and what the day means to serve his community. Cadet Canales was followed by Officer Wayne Dennis, City of Poteet Police Officer. Officer Dennis is a retired Army Military Policeman and a retired New York City Detective who was on duty 13 years ago in New York City.
Officer Dennis delivered a powerful message about how he started his adult life, and the opportunities that changed his life to include being in New York City 13 years ago. “I am so proud of the way our cadet staff planned and executed our ceremony and our cadet’s participation at this before school event” said LTC (retired) Alan W. Maitland, Senior Army Instructor. “Ceremonies like this help teach our students about selfless service and good citizenship and reminds them that freedom is not free” adds Maitland. Maitland was serving in the Pentagon on “9-11.” More than 250 students, community and faculty onlookers watched as the cadets of the “Make-a-Way – Socate” Battalion used this before school event to demonstrate good citizenship and to remember a time when our Nation became silent. As the Honor Detail, consisting of eight cadets, ceremonially raised the United States, Texas and POW/MIA flags to half-staff, Cadet Estrella Casias sung the National Anthem. Prior to the National Anthem, Cadet Paez reminded the audience about the approaching 200th birthday of Francis Scott Keys’ poem titled “Defence of Fort McHenry” that later became the lyrics for “the Star-Spangled Banner.”
The ceremony concluded with the playing of “Taps.”
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