TARBORO – On September 11, 2014, silent sentinels stood watch in the hall of SouthWest Edgecombe High School, as SouthWest was among member schools commemorating 9/11, according to a release from the Edgecombe County schools.
The Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (AFJROTC) program at SouthWest Edgecombe, under the leadership of senior instructor Colonel Mike Whitehurst and Chief Emanuel Williams, provided a memorial tribute to the victims and heroes that lost their lives during the September 11 attacks in 2001.
The AFJROTC cadets took rotating shifts in pairs, taking their turns throughout the day as a visual reminder to students, staff members, and visitors of what was lost, what must be honored, and what must be protected on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks upon the United States.
For Cadet Christian Stephens, a freshman at SouthWest Edgeombe, this was his first experience as a silent sentinel. “It is an honor to pay my respects to the heroes of 9/11,” expressed Stephens.
“Through this activity and his lectures, Colonel Whitehurst helps us to learn the value of life and patriotism,” added Cadet Stephanie Suhum, an eleventh grade student at SouthWest Edgecombe. “It inspires me to think seriously about entering military service.”
Assistant Principal Bobbie Jones, the newest addition to the SouthWest Edgecombe leadership team, also sees the value in this effort presented by the AFJROTC.
“Kudos to Colonel Whitehurst, Chief Williams, and our JROTC cadets for an amazing tribute to 9/11. 9/11 is something we should never forget. We have enemies, foreign and domestic, whose life's goal is to destroy the American way of life. We will not allow this to happen. Thanks for the reminder JROTC.”
“The cadets’ commemoration was a necessity and a positive way to remember those who lost their lives,” shared Sherita Cobb, Edgecombe County Public Schools Director of Secondary Education. “It gives others an opportunity to never forget the sacrifice that our armed forces make for us in this country. For JROTC students, it most likely meant a lot to them because they were able to stand in observance representing the job they aspire to do. What a wonderful way to show reverence and respect to those men and women who gave their lives in an attempt to save others.”
The SouthWest JROTC has provided a similar tribute for the annual National Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day.