It is that time of year…we are happy (because they made it) and sad (because they made it). Life will never be the same. Our children will be graduating from high school in just a few weeks.
Social media will be filled with pictures of our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and friends who are all graduating then headed to college, a trade school – or maybe going into the work force. For others, the choice has been made to join the military – and that is what this blog post is about.
According to a recent article in Huffington Post, only 1% of the nation serves in the military and they are true one-percenters who deserve to be honored, celebrated and commended for their choice. And let’s not forget about the families who support them. Not only is it a lifestyle choice for the graduate, it is also a lifestyle change for parents. The rules are different in the military, the fears are different, and the support can seem to be non-existent.
Also from a recent Huffington Post article…”Although most Americans celebrate our veterans when they return, as well as supporting their families while they’re deployed, many of us don’t realize the enormous sacrifice and determination it takes for a modern, young 18-year-old to decide to enlist in the first place. High school seniors are told almost from the moment they start first grade that everything they do in school is targeted toward getting into a good college. Even though many who decide to enlist still plan to attend college, but only after their service, they face a society that extols the virtues, let alone the assumed necessity, of continuing on to college directly from high school.”
Our local chapter of Blue Star Mothers is again organizing a ceremony for our children who have made the adult choice to join the armed services. Through a national non-profit organization, Our Community Salutes, started in 2009, a local ceremony will be held on June 20, 2015 at the University of Mary Washington Dodd Auditorium.
The decision to join the military after graduation is not easy. According to the Huffington Post article, our children “often face pressure from family and friends who question their ability to find work after their service has ended. Their teachers and friends might question whether they will be ‘wasting’ their academic talents or skills. They feel guilty about worrying their parents, or they’re made to defend their decision by people who make it all about the ‘politics’ rather than about what the enlistee actually feels or wants”.
Our Community Salutes understands these pressures and feels that we should recognize the enlistees for their decisions. A wonderful ceremony has been planned to honor our local area students. There will be many honored guests – including recently retired Emcee, Marine SgtMaj Kenneth Conover (an extremely motivated speaker), The Honorable Rob Wittman and Dr. George Nixon – the oldest enlisted eteran in our area (he is hysterical!). Last year he told all of the male enlistees, “You are never too old to have a girlfriend”! His girlfriend joined him at the ceremony – he is over 90 years old!
Join us to honor our children for their decision to join the armed services. This event will be a day to remember. As a thank you, every enlistee will receive a free meal from Virginia Barbeque after the ceremony.
Our Community Salutes – June 20, 2015 – Dodd Auditorium, University of Mary Washington – 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM.