In a darkened auditorium Tuesday, Panther Valley High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet Roxanne Person raised a trumpet to play The Star Spangled Banner as fellow cadets stood at attention on the stage nearby.
The playing of the national anthem opened a ceremony commemorating the events of Sept. 11, 2001, when al Qaeda terrorists hijacked passenger jet liners and deliberately crashed them into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, and into the pentagon. A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after brave passengers fought back against the terrorists, who were said to have been aiming for the White House.
About 3,000 people were killed by the terrorists, mostly Saudi Arabians, in those devastating attacks.
The school's JROTC organized the ceremony, which included remarks by Principal Joseph Gunnels and readings by cadets.
Gunnels pointed out that the high school seniors were in first grade when the attacks happened.
"History is moving on, time is moving forward," he said. Gunnels warned the students to never forget the infamous day.
JROTC Platoon Sgt. Patrick Iezzoni served as master of ceremonies. A slide show, set to "Have You Forgotten?" by Darryl Worley was arranged by Cadet Kayla Melber. The show featured iconic images of the attacks the exploding towers; a man falling from a tower; firefighters raising an American flag.
Iezzoni read then-President George W. Bush's statement from that day, and SFC Natasha Scerbo read a poem, "The 11th of September."
Cadet Kim Pimble read President Barack Obama's statement marking the 11th anniversary of the attacks, and Cadet Richie Smith read a piece titled "9-11."
Cadet Charles Metcalfe read a poem titled "The Day the Towers Fell."