Peter Wang, 15, was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where a school shooting took place on February 14. The gunman killed 17 students and teachers inside the school. Wang was one of the 17 people fatally shot.
Peter Wang did not die as a victim, however. He died a hero, saving the lives of other students by holding a door open for them to escape while he was fatally shot multiple times.
A JROTC cadet, Peter was “funny, caring and selfless,” according to his cousin, Lin Chen. She told the Sun-Sentinel, “He is so brave. He is the person who is genuinely kind to everyone. He doesn’t care about popularity. He always liked to cheer people up. He is like the big brother everyone wished they had.”
According to neighbor and family friend Jesse Pan, Peter’s dream was to attend West Point Military Academy to be of “service to our country.” That dream was tragically cut short when the fatal school shooting occurred on Valentine’s Day and Peter acted selflessly to help others escape danger before himself.
On Tuesday, however, West Point announced that it would be posthumously accepting Peter Wang to the military academy’s class of 2025 to honor his service and sacrifice.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, “West Point will confer a letter of admission, along with honorarium tokens, to his family, local West Point alumni Chad Maxey said.”
The newspaper’s senior reporter, Brittany Wallman, shared a photo on Twitter of the Certificate of Appointment to West Point.
The Certificate of Appointment reads, “On behalf of the President of the United States of America and the United States Military Academy Admissions Committee, I take great pleasure in presenting this certificate of appointment to Peter Wang for the class of 2025. [Signed] Robert L. Caslen, Jr., Lieutenant General, U.S. Army, Superintendent.”
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The U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) is a youth training program with the stated mission of “Motivating Young People to be Better Citizens.”
With more than 300,000 young men and women enrolled in JROTC, it is one of the largest youth programs in the world. According to its website, the Army’s vision for JROTC is to “provide a quality citizenship, character, and leadership development program, while fostering partnerships with communities and educational institutions.”
Coastal Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca said Tuesday on Twitter, “JROTC Cadet Peter Wang will leave a legacy of Service Above Self and should be remembered as a hero to those whose lives he put in front of his. What a wonderful thing for the USMA to do for this young man.”
An online petition was also started asking Congress to allow Wang to receive a burial with full military honors given the fact that he was a JROTC cadet, planned on attending West Point Military Academy, and gave his life while in his JROTC uniform helping save others from harm. On Tuesday, the petition had more than 60,000 signatures. As required by law, the White House petition needs a full 100,000 signatures to be acted upon by the federal government.
Wang and two other victims of the school shooting who were JROTC cadets — Alaina Petty and Martin Duque — were all honored by the United States Army with the JROTC Medal of Heroism. Wang, whose funeral took place on Tuesday, was buried in his JROTC uniform along with the Medal of Heroism at his family’s request.
While the nation mourns the loss of all 17 shooting victims and the many injured, we remember salute those like Peter Wang and other heroes who sacrificed themselves to protect others from harm.
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