9/11 Ceremony


Ava Andrews, Sports Editor

On September 10, the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) gave an exemplary
ceremony of the flag retreat. Nancy Young, Tracy Mayor, gave an amazing speech bringing
many to remember the importance of our country and remember those who passed in 9-11.
1st Lt. Tongson says, “The ceremony made me emotional. As it did every year, I was present.
You don’t really understand the trauma people went through on that day twenty years ago. The
words spoken, the families torn apart, and all the lives lost. You don’t pay attention to it. The
speech presented by the mayor made a ton of people including myself have a different
perspective on it.”

Our JROTC leaders, Major Roundtree and SMSGT (Senior Major Sergeant) Morris has their own
emotions leading to this day.

“I recall a feeling of numbness, shocked and disbelief. My students had many questions, but
while in the middle of this tragedy, there were very few answers,” Major Roundtree says.
“There was confusion on the news about what had happened, so I thought it was just an anomaly.”


“The second plane hit the second tower and then we all knew what happened. Within six months I was
deployed again in support of the Global War on Terrorism,” SMSGT Morris recalls, the day of the

This tragedy at first was a confusion for many. Since everything crashed down on our country
so quickly, responding quickly to such attacks was not in plan. But twenty years after the
tragedy, this ceremony helped us see how much our country has grown. On September
11 , 2001, the Twin Towers were hit by a series of attacks by the Islamic Terrorist group known
as the Al-Qaeda. Once they hijacked the aircraft, they headed our way to destroy a building that
was prominent to the country. With a total of four planes being hijacked that day, two hit the
Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. This event brought mixed emotions to many U.S
citizens. But it never tore our country apart.

“We began immediately preparing cadets for the 9/11 Remembrance and Retreat Ceremony at
the start of the school year. The events of 9/11 occurred before our students were born. It was
important to teach cadets the significance of this day and to properly honor our first
responders and other Americans who stepped forward during one of the most tragic days in
our country’s history,” Major Roundtree says.

During the ceremony, it started with a speech from Cadet Dallin Silcox and Mayor Nancy Young.
Then transitioning into a flag retreat helping us remember who sacrificed themselves for our
people. With the flag folded and a performance done by our AFJROTC Program, Air Force Junior
Reserve Officer Training Corps, made this 20-year anniversary memorable for many of us.
Although students at Merrill F. West High did not live through this tragedy, this event can still
bring mixed emotions to students. Many might feel the happiness of growing through such a
tough time. Many might even feel sorrow for those who have passed or even family involved.

Photo Credits: Ava Andrews