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Mapleton JROTC hosts annual 9/11 ceremony

Mapleton’s Air Force JROTC cadets hosted their annual Skyview Patriot Day Ceremony this morning, Sept. 7, at DiTirro Stadium. The event honored first responders and civilians who died during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, military personnel who have been taken prisoner or have been missing in action through the years, and servicemen and women who continue to fight terrorism. 

A colonel makes a speech

Mapleton’s Senior Aerospace Science Instructor Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) William Arrington and Thornton Mayor Jan Kullman provided remarks about how the day brought the country together. And the Mapleton choir and band performed a patriotic medley of armed services songs and “Amazing Grace.” 

Most of the ceremony’s field activities, such as the marching, formations, and the guarding of the POW/MIA Chair of Honor, which symbolizes the servicemen and women who aren’t there due to their sacrifices, were coordinated by the cadets. The cadet squadron practiced hard for the last two weeks to make sure every movement was precise. 

“It’s important for us to be perfect so we can show our gratitude to the military, and the firefighters and police officers who gave their lives on 9/11,” said Cadet Airman Anastasia N. “We wanted to show we care what they have done for this country.” 

Two cadets guard a special chair

Senior Master Sergeant (Retired) Danny Alltop, Mapleton’s new Aerospace Science Instructor, said this was the first time he had seen a 9/11 ceremony run by a school and he was impressed.  

“This is probably the best thing I’ve seen in a long time,” he said. “It was so well put together, and our cadets were on the field being the role models we want them to be. It was a great event, very well done.” 

Right before the cadets began to practice, Arrington and Alltop showed them footage of the 9/11 attacks and had them listen to audio clips from the events’ first responders, so they could fully appreciate the gravity of the day. 

“They weren’t even around when this terrible event happened, but we need to keep the fires burning for them to remember the past and know what can happen,” Arrington said. We can never forget.”