PSU ROTC remembers the lives that were lost on 9/11

Captain Leon was 18 and in New York at that time

On this day, we remember those that were lost on 9/11/2001.

Captain Eric Leon grew up in New York. He was living in the Bronx at the time of 9/11. At 18 years old, on September 11th, 2001, he woke up to his aunt telling him the United States was under attack.

“Sure enough the second tower was already hit at that time, I was in high school, started late in my classes and kind of in shock and awe I ran up to the fifth story of my building, I could actually see the twin towers at that location, kind of faraway, but at that point it was just all smoke.”

He remembers it like it was yesterday.

“Clear blue sky there, New York City, as we watched the fire jets circle around the scene and kind of protect us, real eye-opener.”

Captain Leon quickly joined the military following the events of 9/11.

“This solidified my decision to join, so when 9/11 happened, I joined 6 months after, right after graduation of high school, so this was a turning event in my life, it really set me up, I wanted to do more.”

Now 18 years later, he and his cadets at Pittsburg State University are honoring that infamous day.

“It’s really in remembrance of the 2,977 who sacrificed their lives that day, and if we think about this University and the student body, we have many here, 18 and 19 year old’s, who were infants when this occurred. I have one cadet that wasn’t even born yet when this happened, she was born a month after. It really takes me back the last 18 years and how we’ve changed, and how the nation changed because of it” said Captain Leon.

The Cadets fired two cannons, one at 8:46 A.M., when the first of the twin towers was hit and again at 9:03 A.M., when the second tower was hit.

“This is the reason I joined the military, was 9/11, it resonates with me quite a bit and I just want to pass that on, pass the torch on to our future leaders of the ROTC program, so they have that remembrance as well” said Captain Bryce Johnson.

The cadets completed 2,977 pushups to honor each person killed as their names were being read out loud.

“I want these cadets to resonate that the pain you go through doing 2,977 pushups is nowhere near the pain that the family and friends and loved ones of those individuals went through” added Captain Johnson.

Captain Leon says they will hold this ceremony each year.

“Really not to ever forget, to remember what occurred that day and those that sacrificed their lives.”


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