Patrick Henry's JROTC Program Honoring Veterans - abc27 WHTM

Patrick Henry's JROTC Program Honoring Veterans


Roanoke, VA - Cadets from Roanoke's Patrick Henry High School carried on an annual tradition Wednesday morning when 14 cadets from the school's Air Force Junior ROTC program put flags on the graves of Veterans for Memorial Day.

The president of the Evergreen Burial Park says students have been helping out for about 12 years.

Sophomore Sarah Ray volunteers because she says it's the least she can do.

"The day we stop honoring our veterans is the day this country loses a lot of its patriotism, if not all of it. Because our veterans are part of our foundation for this country," Ray said.

Ray says she has always been attracted to the military, even though no one in her immediate family has served. Sarah's main motivation Wednesday was to ensure that her generation doesn't let feelings about current conflicts overshadow past sacrifices.

"Which I have no issue with... they deserve to be honored but commonly they don't honor these guys anymore who deserve just as much respect," Ray explained.

Ray's partner in the event, Liam Mahar-Milani, has had immediate relatives serve. It's something he says helps shape his motivations a little differently.

"They dedicated their lives to freedom and it's a good chance to remember who fought for you and why you're here right now," said Mahar-Milani.

Regardless what the motivation is, cadet instructor Master Sergeant Terry Mills believes it's all linked to a much bigger picture.

"When they are out here and see all these flags and see all these people that have served before them... it's important to them to see how other people serve their community and their country," Mills added.

The event is far from the only community service the Patrick Henry cadets do. In all, the students do more than 1,600 hours of service a year.

This year's efforts will help the VFW, which will finish getting the flags in place for the more than 4,000 veterans at the park in time for the holiday Monday.

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