Columbia, SC (WLTX)- The first and only J.R.O.T.C. program in a correctional facility held a ceremony Friday, honoring the lives of those lost and effected by the 9-11 attacks.
This Sunday will mark 15 years since the September 11th terrorist attacks, that killed 3,000 people, and injured 6,000 others.
South Carolina's Department of Juvenile Justice's cadets at the Broad River Road facility heard from a New York native and correctional officer, Rose King.
King said she lived the experience after coming out of a subway stairwell.
"Just as I stepped out of the stairwell and looked up, that's when the second plane hit," King said. "I'm certain everyone on the street all said out loud in unison 'oh my god.'"
Cadets like 15-year-old Gabriela P., who aren't old enough to remember the attacks, said King's first-person accounts helped put the events into perspective.
"Before, it was unrealistic, like it didn't happen almost," she said.
P. said she has enjoyed the J.R.O.T.C. program and is inspired to fight for American freedom when she leaves the juvenile prison.
"It makes me proud to be an American citizen and more encouragement to fight for our country."
King said talking about her story is therapeutic and hopes it will make that difference on the cadets.
"They can make a difference in the world, not only just in America, but in the world," she said. "They have an opportunity for growth and to be anything and anyone they want to be."
The J.R.O.T.C. program at the Broad River Road complex has been around for 21 years.
This year, there are approximately 28 youth inmates partaking in the program as an elective.
D.J..J . said it is one of the most successful in the country, and regularly places in high ranks each year.