The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School school shooting in Parkland, Florida, claimed 17 innocent lives. A week after the horrible massacre, friends and family members are remembering and honoring the victims.
Chinese-American student Peter Wang’s bravery in the face of danger has been particularly lauded. A member of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), Peter sprung into action during the attack, which was committed by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. Peter held the door open and ushered his fellow students out the door, sacrificing himself to assure their escape. Saving dozens of lives, he perished wearing his official cadet uniform.
Peter’s classmate Aiden Ortiz recalls: “He was pointing the door open for other people to escape and then he was struck by the bullets.” The fellow teen spoke with great admiration for his fallen friend, saying, “I want people to know he died a hero. He died saving many people.”
Even in the seemingly ordinary days before the slaughter, Peter was remembered as a kind and caring presence in the school. When a classmate, Rachel Kuperman, forgot to bring her own lunch, Wang bought her snacks and soda from a vending machine.
Kuperman adds that “[Peter] put others before himself.”
Now, those that knew Peter are petitioning for him to be buried with full military honors.
It argues that his “selfless actions have led to the survival of dozens in the area. Wang died a hero, and deserves to be treated as such, and deserves a full honors military burial.”
The proposal already has over 22,000 signatures, though will need 100,000 before it can be brought to the White House. Peter’s funeral is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, February 20th.
The Wang family is well-liked in the community because they ran a Chinese restaurant close to the school. Peter is survived by both his parents, two younger brothers, and an extended family. His death was particularly tragic because it occurred just before the Lunar New Year.
Wang’s cousin Lin Chen said, “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.’
Peter’s kindergarten principal also spoke highly of him: “He was a sweet, loving child … very eager to learn.”