By: Jill Fox
A petition has been started to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Parkland Shooting victim, Peter Wang, who died while holding a door open to save others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14.
Parkland residents are pledging their support for Wang to be given the highest civilian honor in the nation after a tweet from one of his former classmates, Kyle Kashuv.
“Mr. President, please consider honoring Peter Wang with the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” tweeted Kashuv who explained in his petition that Wang died trying to save his classmates.
A member of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), Wang planned on attending United States Military Academy West Point. He liked the Houston Rockets, hip-hop music, playing basketball and spending time with his friends.
Wang’s cousin Lin Chen, of Parkland, said Wang was such a kind, selfless soul who chose to hold the door for others during the last seconds of his life.
“We are incredibly proud of him for having such a brave heart,” said Chen.
She said that their family still can’t believe how he was brutally murdered along with the other victims.
“He was only 15, and he was able to put others’ lives before his own,” said Chen.
Kashuv asked supporters to join together, cross party lines, and ask the President of the United States to posthumously award Wang the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He said that Wang’s dream was to become a soldier and he was buried in his JROTC uniform; even wearing a JROTC shirt the day of the shooting.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is “the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Only 582 people have received the medal – one being Marjory Stoneman Douglas herself who was awarded in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.
In order to garner a response from the White House, the petition needs 100,000 signatures by December 22. Similarly, this isn’t the first petition for Wang, who lived in Parkland and would have been 16-years-old in November.
Following the school shooting, there was a petition which circulated on social media to give him a military burial with full honors, which succeeded in gathering over 75,000 signatures in four days.
Wang left behind his parents Hui and Kong and brothers Jason and Alex. His parents thank everyone who have signed the petition and are happy their son is being remembered.
To sign the petition, visit www.www.petitions.whitehouse.gov/PeterWang Don’t forget to confirm your signatures via email once you sign.
Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She is currently a Senior Account Director at Lon Haber & Co., a leading full-service public relations firm. Fox worked at NBC Miami for eight years after graduating from the University of Miami. She lives in Parkland with her husband, Brian and two children.