Personal ties to 9/11 attacks inspire Pitt State ROTC memorial service

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Erick Leon, a professor of military science at Pittsburg State University, has personal ties to the attacks on September 11th.

“I ran up to the fifth story of my building because I could actually see the Twin Towers from that location. They were pretty far away from that point, but at that point, it just all smoke,” Leon explained. “And I was up a good 36 hours just watching the news. Clear blue skies there in New York City as we watched the fighter jets circle around the scene and kind of protect us. Real eye-opener for just about everyone, especially myself.”

It was such an eye-opening experience for Leon, he went on to enlist in the army.

“This solidified my reason to join. So, when 9/11 happened, I joined six months after,” Leon added.

Now, he’s a professor in Pittsburg State’s military science program.

At 8:46 am and then 9:03 am, ROTC students shot off a cannon signifying each plane that struck the World Trade Center towers.

“It’s very important for me to be involved today,” said Cadet Wesley Jameson. “I have a sense of honor and pride whenever I get to promote something for those that have fallen.”

To pay tribute to the nearly 3,000 lives lost,

Cadets did push-ups, honoring each victim.

“Hearing the names and being able to really do something for each individual was a really enlightening experience.”

As their captains read 2,977 names, the cadets did not break their stance.

The experience–something captains hope resonate with their cadets.

“The pain you go through doing 2,977 push ups is nowhere near the pain that the family and friends and loved ones of those individuals on 9/11 went through,” added Bryce Johnson, also with the department.

Johnson says 9/11 is actually the reason he joined the military also. He’s in his 14th year of service.

It took cadets three hours to complete the push-ups.

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