JROTC honor soldiers past

American flags decorate the graves of veterans in the Winchester Cemetery this week. They were placed Wednesday by students from the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at George Rogers Clark High School.

It’s something the JROTC students do twice a year, before Memorial Day and Veterans Day, to pay their respects to our nation’s former military personnel.

“I feel grateful to honor the veterans after they’re gone,” said Lillian Perry, a sophomore JROTC member.

Lillian was working with Karsyn Carroll, a freshman member of the group. Both girls are considering the military as a career.

“It gives us a chance to get to know who has served for us,” Karsyn said.

Master Sgt. Larry Lee, the leader of the high school’s ROTC program, had about 30 students at the cemetery Wednesday placing the flags, something the chapter has been doing for 16 years.

It’s something “we can do to honor those who fought for us,” Lee said.

“It’s a great service to the community,” Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner, a Marine veteran, who was there with the students, said. “It’s a perfect way for them to be involved.”

This year the JROTC program also involved a local Cub Scouts pack and three Girl Scouts troops in decorating the graves.

Lee mentioned that last fall, during the coronavirus pandemic, JROTC students spent more than a month documenting the gravesites of veterans in the cemetery and building a database and a catalog of more than 70 pages so people will know where veterans are buried. That makes it easier for the students to follow that list to know where to place the flags prior to Memorial Day and Veterans Day, he said.

The instructor said that if anyone knows of a veteran whose name is not included on that list to contact the JROTC program at the high school and they will be added.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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