JROTC Memorializes 9/11 20 Years Later

Dressed in matching blue and grey uniforms, about 24 Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, or JROTC, students stood in front of the flagpole outside Decatur High School on a cool, cloudy morning to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. 


JROTC students finish their ceremony by carrying flags into the school

“This is something to remind us of what we went through together and how we can come together as a people. It didn’t matter what ethnic group or background or where you came from, we came together as a country,” said Col. Johnny Richards, who has served in the military for over 30 years and teaches the JROTC class along with Sgt. Bruce Case. 


This year’s ceremony began with a student lowering two flags to half staff. More students then began listing people who lost their lives, including civilians as well as firefighters and US military personnel. They also named many former DHS graduates who lost their lives in service, during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. 


For each person or group named, a bell was rung. 


“We just want to acknowledge these people and [honor] them for the sacrifice they made so that we can live the lives we live today,” Col. Richards said. 


The event concluded with naming DHS graduates who are currently serving in the U.S Army, and with the recognition of this year’s 9/11 award recipients for their “outstanding service and contribution” to the City of Decatur and Decatur High School:


  • Mike Booker – City of Decatur Chief of Police
  • Sgt. Durell Coleman – City of Decatur Fire Department
  • Officer Juan Valez – City of Decatur Police Department
  • Vu Nguyen – City Schools of Decatur Staff