MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Matthew C. Perry Elementary and High School students walked in silence during their 9/11 Remembrance Walk aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Sept. 11, 2015.
Beginning at 9:11 a.m. led by the M. C. Perry High School Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps color guard and a Provost Marshal’s Office patrol car, this is the third annual walk hosted by the schools and an event that helps students understand the significance of never forgetting, according to Devin Johnston-Lee, fire chief for the air station.
“The emphasis that we have today is teaching our kids about history,” said Johnston-Lee. “If we don’t teach them history, they’re subject to repeat all the mistakes in the past. We need to progressively move forward.”
Students, accompanied by station residents, walked in silence to Perry Field. Once at the field, students sang the Pledge of Allegiance and stood in silence to reflect and honor all the fallen on 9/11 as Allen Strawbridge, a music teacher with M.C. Perry High School, played taps.
“The significance of this walk is so that we can allow our students and the community to keep the memory of what happened 14 years ago today fresh in our minds,” said Lorenzo Brown, principal for M.C. Perry High School. “We have lots of students who weren’t even born then. They don’t know what happened.”
Johnston-Lee spoke to the students about the importance of remembering 9/11 and getting them to understand that everyday citizens do heroic things, not because they’re not afraid, but because they are afraid and are still willing to do their job.
“I want the kids to understand that a life of public service is one of the best things you can do whether it’d be the military, a fire fighter, a police officer or anything that is helping others,” said Johnston-Lee.
Elementary students were given the opportunity to get up close with a fire truck and take photos with a fire fighter at the conclusion of the event.
“To me personally, it’s a way to remember why people put on the uniform every day,” said Brown. “Our freedoms aren’t free. Someone has to stand the post and ensure that we have those freedoms.”