Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets gathered at the Longleaf Trace on Wednesday to recognize victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks with a 9.11 kilometer run and a commemoration ceremony.
Over 80 students from The University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University participated in the run. Cadet Michael Kennedy, a senior criminal justice major, spoke about the sacrifices made by the fallen cadets and service members.
“This ceremony means a lot to me because in 2009 I spent a year in Iraq as a part of the War on Terrorism,” Kennedy said. “It means a lot that we will show our support for those who are still fighting for this country.”
Cadet Trey Collier, a senior criminal justice major, came up with the idea for the memorial ceremony when he saw fliers over the summer detailing a similar event while in South Korea.
“This event is important because the idea is to challenge the cadets…it will be hard and painful…so when we get done we can see the price that it stands for,” Collier said.
Lt. Col. Joseph Worley Jr. was excited about the idea of a memorial run.
“It provides an opportunity for our cadets to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made on Sept. 11, 2001,” he said. “It provides an opportunity to remember the fallen service members from the two wars resulting from that tragic day.”
“Our cadets participate in the program during a time of war and it is good for them to remember that,” Worley said. “It is also a longer run to push them and challenge them much the same way that Americans were pushed and challenged on Sept. 11, 2001.”
ROTC plans to make the memorial run an annual event.