Cadets with the H.M. King High School JROTC program held a solemn ceremony in front of the campus early Wednesday morning honoring the memory of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

“This is our third year doing (this ceremony),” JROTC instructor Sgt. Carlos Garcia said. “We teach (our cadets) why it’s important to remember and not forget those who gave their lives.” 

This year marks the 18th anniversary of the attacks, in which four commercial airlines were hijacked and used in a coordinated terrorist attack on United States soil. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were flown into the World Trade Center towers, and another, American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into the Pentagon.

The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed into a field in Somerset County, Penn. after passengers and crew attempted to regain control of the aircraft from the hijackers. An estimated 3,000 people died as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The ceremony began with the posting of the United States and Texas flags, followed by Cadet Cpt. Breanna Hammond singing the national anthem and Cadet Cpt. Kaleb Speckman leading the audience in prayer.

Kingsville Fire Chief Adrian Garcia served as guest speaker for the event, relaying his personal memories of Sept. 11 and the importance of remembering the day nearly one generation later.

“Today is a solemn day, and we should never forget,” Garcia said. “Not just because of the countless lives that we lost, but because we need to continue to honor the victims and learn from the experience of that fateful day.

“We need to acknowledge the heroes, remember their stories and, more importantly, remember the sacrifices they made.”

The ceremony concluded with four cadets placing single roses on the ground, each a different color and symbolizing one of the planes involved in the attacks, and saluted as another cadet recounted the events of that day.

Anthony Ruiz can be contacted at aruiz@king-ranch.com or (361) 221-0251.

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