Survivors of the Parkland school shooting are advocating for the Presidential Medal of Freedom to be bestowed on one of their classmates, who was slain saving his fellow students.
Freshman Peter Wang was seen holding a classroom door open for students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as they ran to escape bullets from an AR-15 wielded by a former student this past Valentine’s Day. He was shot and killed along with 16 others after his act of heroism, a deed that fit with the tenor of his whole life, his family 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,’’ said Lin Chen, Wang’s cousin.
The 15-year-old was a member of his school’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and had ambitions to join the military and attend West Point. He was even wearing his JROTC shirt that day and was buried in his uniform.
Survivor and fellow student Kyle Kashuv, a senior, started a petition to the White House over Thanksgiving weekend asking that Wang be awarded the highest civilian honor in the country.
Mr. President, please consider honoring Peter Wang with the Presidential Medal of Freedom
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) November 22, 2018
Peter Wang deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom. People like Peter Wang are why I am proud to be an American. Peter was dedicated to a cause larger than himself and was murdered protecting others because he knew it was the right thing to do. I wish we could all thank him.
— Cameron Kasky (@cameron_kasky) November 24, 2018
Cameron Kasky, who along with other student survivors founded the March for Our Lives to advocate for increased gun control after the Parkland massacre, added his voice in favor of Kashuv’s petition.
“For the Presidential Medal of Freedom, there’s no better recipient,” Kasky said. “Peter lost his life defending others, which is what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to go into the military and that is a young man who deserves this honor.”
The petition has 6,500 signatures and needs almost 100,000 by December 22 to receive a response from the White House.
The Army has already awarded the Medal of Heroism to Wang and the two other JROTC cadets who died in the shooting, Martin Duque and Alaina Petty. West Point also posthumously admitted Wang in recognition of his bravery.