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Veteran teaches teens about 9/11 at Riverview Gardens HS

'It's the best part of the program, get that message across and teach history from my perspective.'

BELLEFONTAINE NEIGHBORS, Mo. — At Riverview Gardens High School, the students in the Navy Junior ROTC class are getting a lesson in history about a day most Americans will never forget: September 11, 2001. 

“I remember it vividly. Vividly,” said Cesar Diaz, the class instructor. He is also a veteran, who served in the Navy for 27 years.

Diaz was stationed in New Orleans when he heard the news from his commander.

“Never forget getting into the building and watching the news and seeing that first tower fall. It was just surreal, surreal,” Diaz said.

Diaz showed his students videos and news clips from that day. He also shared his personal story.

“We're on active duty, wondering what's going to be the reaction, the US reaction,” Diaz said. “It's the best part of the program, get that message across and teach history from my perspective.”

One Navy JROTC student, Jayden Keys, was just a baby 18 years ago. He has dreams of studying at the Naval Academy. Though Jayden does not have any memories of 9/11, he said it is something he can feel and carry with him.

“Reminds me to keep fighting for what I believe in,” Keys said.

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