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Mars family passes the flag on memorial

August 20, 2019 Digital Media Exclusive

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ADAMS TWP — The Mars Area School District's 9/11 memorial is an annual display of remembrance. Featuring a flag for every person who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — 2,977 in total — the memorial is displayed on school property every year on Sept. 11.

School board President Dayle Ferguson's family has maintained the memorial since 2015, when the family before them passed the flag. Now, the Fergusons are passing the flag themselves. The announcement was made at the Aug. 13 board meeting.

“The Mars-Pine-Richland JROTC program is going to continue the tradition,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson said the community and district have supported the program in the four years her family has overseen the project. They were prepared to continue the responsibility even after their youngest child graduated high school this year. Ferguson is happy to see JROTC take over.

“We firmly believe ... that this should be student-led,” Ferguson said.

Pine-Richland JROTC Chief Mike Gasparetto said there are 112 students — 24 of whom are from Mars Area — enrolled in the JROTC program. Mars Area joined the program last year. According to Gasparetto, the mission of JROTC is to “develop citizens of character.” Operating the memorial is an opportunity to do that.

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