Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vancouver, Washington to Celebrate Future Soldiers

Every year, all across America, High Schools graduate a senior class. Young men & women beginning their lives and moving into adulthood. Some go on to college. Some move on to technical schools. Some enter the workforce right away.

Many are recognized for their scholastic or athletic abilities by receiving scholarships to further their education in universities and are celebrated in small banquets held by donor groups.

Some graduating seniors choose a different path, a path of sacrifice and service to our country, often under the harshest of conditions in faraway lands. They enlist in the Military, embarking on an adventure that will guide them through life, whether they make a career out of it or serve a single enlistment.

Those young men & women are being celebrated in some communities as well, as seen in the video from Times Square in 2008.

Plans are in the works for Vancouver to join in celebrating these young enlistees this year as well, tentatively planned for the month of April, it is anticipated to involve 40-50 enlistees from the Vancouver area. Future events anticipate including the entire Portland/Vancouver Metropolitan area.

While this first event will most likely be more informal, sort of a picnic type event, planners hope future events will be more formal, as in a dinner event.

LTC Thom Crowson, Commander, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion, Portland, has appointed a Civilian Advisory Panel to get the event off the ground. Presently, the Panel is comprised of Brice Barrett, Larry Deibert, Bob Knight, Curt Loop, Jesse Oliver, Larry Smith and Rick Stone, with plans to recruit others to the panel as the event unfolds.

I am told Battle Ground Mayor Mike Ciraulo “is on board and is pushing hard.”

Vancouver city council member Larry Smith, a U.S. Army retiree says, “We want to recognize High School students at graduation who will enter the military. We recognize academic and athletic scholarship students at graduation. Why not students who will serve in our military following graduation? We think these people are very special.”

I couldn’t agree more. We shake their hands walking through stores and airports. We meet them in restaurants and say “thank you.” We may even anonymously pay for their meal, but this is usually after they return, after they have faced war, after their deployment ends.

Why not send them off knowing the community not only supports them, but celebrates their decision to stand up for our country? Why not show them how much we appreciate their willingness to make the sacrifice?

This is an event I am supporting 100% and hope you will too.

Vancouver, let’s make this 1st Annual Future Soldiers Recognition Event a success. Let’s help were we can to get this off the ground and ensure these graduating seniors know we appreciate and support their decision to serve.

Future contact and information will be available through:

Ft Vancouver National Trust Attn: Memorial Day Service (CMAC)
General O.O. Howard House
750 Anderson road
Vancouver, Wa 98661

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