15 Sep 2014
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South Gwinnett JROTC: "We Remember Everything"

In a moving tribute to Patriot Day and the victims of 9/11, South Gwinnett JROTC cadets show their school that they will always remember.

Although members of South Gwinnett's JROTC were only six years old when the Twin Towers fell, for most of them, the day is vividly etched in their mind. Some, like Quayvon Richardson, remember their schools being on lockdown, even though they were far away from the tragedy.

Others, like Sergeant Major Etienne Murphy, decided then and there to enlist in the military. He did so this year.

"I remember everything," he said. "It was life-changing."

The JROTC took it upon themselves to create a booth and educate their fellow students about not just the events of Sept. 11, 2001, but also the meaning of Patriot Day. This morning, they lowered the flag to half-mast.

"These kids turned the school upside down," said Sgt. Christopher Diaz. "They're making a big difference. We gave them minimal instruction, and they ran with it. All the students at South Gwinnett should realize what this day is all about."

Everybody has a story about that day eleven years ago. As a way to honor Patriot Day, the cadets set out huge sheets of paper for the students to write down their memories. As each page filled up, they taped it to the walls.

This is a generation that has grown up in a post-9/11 society. They associate today's economic woes with the cost of the wars the U.S. has engaged in since that day. But they also consider the wars necessary, since we "need to make this a more stable place, because it hasn't been," according to cadet Quayvon Richardson. 

Erica Jones-Craven, a top cadet, was in Kindergarten. She believes most people don't realize what Patriot Day is about.

"It's about remembering people who lost their lives on 9/11," she said, "but also about the soldiers we have lost in prior wars. It's a day to come together as a school and remember.

"Most people have been interactive and writing on the boards," she continued. "They haven't forgotten about it. We remember this day."

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