WASHINGTON, November 20, 2018. – As bullets screamed through the hallways in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wednesday Valentine’s Day, JROTC student, Peter Wang, died holding the doors for Parkland students and staff to escape the shooting. According to Fox News he is one of three JROTC cadets who died in the shooting. They have each been awarded the Army JROTC Medal of Heroism for their actions of bravery during the shooting rampage that took their lives and the lives of 14 others.
Age does not determine heroism, courage in the face of fear defined the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School cadet’s true measure.
That afternoon thousands of students and staff fled or took cover as 19-year-old shooter Nikolas Cruz engaged in his deadly killing spree. Yet, Wang, 15, in his JROTC uniform, stood his ground. According to teachers and students, he was unflinching in his apparent goal to give them safe passage from the hail of bullets.
Heroism is not a simple or casual word. The U.S. Army takes that word and every serious measure of high moral character that defines it very seriously. It is why the military service awarded the three cadets the Medal of Heroism. It is the service’s highest medal for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets.
“When the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns to compromise with death — that is heroism.” 19th Century lawyer Robert Green Ingersoll
Fox News reported that a U.S. Army spokesman said Cadet Command approved Junior ROTC Medal of Heroism for cadets Alaina Petty, Peter Wang and Martin Duque. Wang’s family received his medal at his service on Tuesday. The family of Cadet Petty, 14, was presented with her Medal of Heroism during her funeral service on Monday.
One can never truly measure the potential destination that Wang and the other two JROTC cadets’ life pathway would have taken them. What is certain is that their devotion to the training, life goals of leadership, honor, and respect was deeply embedded within each of these brave young heroes.
Isaiah 41:6 Each one helps his neighbor and says to his brother, “Be strong!”
In a nation, where there are far too many examples of youth and teenagers who engage in bullying, attacking young and old alike or even gang murders, thankfully the nation still has heroes in their midst. The parents and family of cadets Alaina Petty, Peter Wang and Martin Duque can truly be proud and honored to have raised and cultivated young Americans who show the best of what America is. The Medal of Heroism is an attribute to this fact.
This video has JROTC cadets talking about the school, guns and their fallen comrades:
JROTC Medal of Heroism
The JROTC Medal of Heroism is a U.S. military decoration that is awarded by the Department of the Army to JROTC cadets. It is given to cadets whose outstanding performance “involved the acceptance of danger and extraordinary responsibilities, exemplifying praiseworthy fortitude and courage.”
The dignity, courage, and honor displayed by Cadets Peter Wang, Alaina Petty, and Martin Duque, has earned them the respect of the U.S. Army and the nation. Wang was buried in his uniform with the JROTC Medal of Heroism on his uniform.
In addition to receiving the Medal of Heroism, Wang was posthumously admitted to the U.S. Military Academy to fulfill his “lifetime goal” of attending West Point.
“It was an appropriate way for USMA to honor this brave young man,” the U.S. Military Academy said in a statement. “West Point has given posthumous offers of admissions in very rare instances for those candidates or potential candidate’s whose actions exemplified the tenets of Duty, Honor and Country.”
According to Task & Purpose, U.S. Army Cadet Command spokesman Michael Maddox said his family would receive a second ‘keepsake medal’.
On Saturday, the family of 13-year-old Duque will receive the Medal of Heroism at his funeral services.
The JROTC program in the school where these heroes died is one of 28 schools that have an average annual enrollment of 7,650 students. The primary focus of Broward County Public High School system’s JROTC program is to develop moral, ethical character-building and strategic thinking among many other leadership qualities.
The “JROTC core curriculum prepares young men and women to be better citizens and leaders in their post-secondary education or in the workplace.”
According to the site, over 90% of its four-year members attend college, even though only 5% end up joining the U.S. armed forces.
“Arise! For this matter is your responsibility, but we will be with you; be courageous and act.”
Thankfully, on that fateful Valentine’s Day JROTC Alaina Petty, Peter Wang and Martin Duque stool tall showing that heroism is defined in the heart, spirit, and soul.
America is proud and the Medal of Heroism honors their patriotism and sacrifice.