High School JROTC cadets lay wreath at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Apr 5, 2023

As she and her fellow Wareham High School JROTC cadets laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, the significance of the moment weighed heavily on eighth grader Sage Brophy’s mind. 

Brophy and her fellow cadets took their mission seriously, laying the wreath under the watchful eye of Tomb Guards on Tuesday, April 4. 

The wreath-laying ceremony was part of the eighth grade’s annual class trip to Washington, D.C.

“It was very fulfilling to see eighth graders, such young youths, being able to [lay the wreaths],” said JROTC Army Instructor Erick Mejia. “They were very excited to be bestowed an honor like that.”

The cadets learned about the strict protocol followed by Tomb Guards and witnessed the ritual changing of the guard, which Mejia said was “something they could strive for and achieve.” 

High School Principal Scott Palladino reached out to Arlington National Cemetery to get permission for the students to lay the wreath. 

Ret. Col. Matthew Stanton, a JROTC senior army instructor and U.S. government teacher at the High School, could not go on the trip, but he was still proud of his students. Stanton has visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the past, and has toured Arlington National Cemetery with his fellow soldiers.

“I definitely understand the significance of the sacrifices our soldiers have made,” Stanton said. “I feel proud to know that the students of Wareham High School wanted to take the opportunity to pay respects to those who sacrificed it all in the name of our country.”