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Citadel News Service
9 Nov 2011

In the name of heroism

Cadets learn leadership lessons through community service

By Cadet Jordan Smith

In January 1982 shortly after departing Washington National Airport, Air Florida 90 crashed in to the 14th Street Bridge and plunged into the Potomac River. Arland D. Williams, Jr., ’57, was among six passengers to survive the crash.  In the icy waters after the horrifying crash, Williams repeatedly passed a helicopter lifeline to fellow survivors. When the helicopter came back for him a final time, he had sunk to his death. 

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To honor Williams, The Citadel and The Krause Center hosted the first Corps-wide Heroism Day Tuesday, sending cadets all over the Lowcountry behind the motto “Be a hero, Thank a Hero, Remember a Hero.”  From helping out at local animal shelters to marching from campus to Patriots Point and the U.S.S. Yorktown, cadets learned valuable lessons about the meaning of heroism. 

In the march to Patriots Point, a team of 350 cadets and active duty staff from the ROTC units honored veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces for their heroism and sacrifice.  Bearing a large S.C. state flag as well as guidons from the ROTC detachment, the participants made an impressive display as they marched over the Arthur Ravenel Bridge.

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At Patriots Point, a site dedicated to selfless acts of the service men and women before them, cadets paid homage by learning about their sacrifices in the Medal of Honor Museum. 

"It's important for cadets to give back to those who have served before them, especially those who gave their lives," said Sgt. First Class Reginald Mitchell who was among those marching.

The march, which began at 10 a.m., concluded at 2 p.m. when cadets and staff returned from the 10-mile trek back to campus.  

More than 700 freshman cadets got into the spirit day by visiting local elementary schools where they taught the students about heroes and helped them to make cards for local veterans, police officers and firefighters.

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Cadet Thomas Clark, a freshman cadet who participated in the program, liked the change in the weekly routine.

"I really enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the young students,” he said.

Heroism Day also included more than 20 other events that helped serve the community, small organizations or allowed cadets to honor heroes.

Arland D. Williams sacrificed his life for others, and almost 30 years later, Citadel cadets are learning about heroism in his name.

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