Last night I had the privilege to attend a modest, but touching ceremony. It was organized by The Community Military Appreciation Committee of Vancouver, Washington. CMAC hosts a stunning variety of events focused on supporting our military. They jumped in with Our Community Salutes as it fits perfectly with their “MOS”.
“Our Community Salutes was created in 2009 to recognize and honor high school seniors (and their parents/guardians) who plan to enlist into the military after high school graduation.”
One thing is for sure – the future will be in the hands of today’s youth. They will step in to positions of influence on every level. It was encouraging to see so many young men and women seeing the possibilities that lie ahead for them in the military.
“OCS began in southern New Jersey in 2009 and has spread across the nation by people who believe strongly in the importance of community support and recognition of the courageous and patriotic young adults who will join the 1% of Americans who serve in the US Armed Services.” You can access a national listing of OCS ceremonies by location.
Students, recruiters, veterans and families came together at Heritage High School, one of the Evergreen Public Schools in Vancouver, WA for 2 hours of ceremony, cake and socializing.
Two other of my fellow Blue Star Mothers of Oregon members joined me to get the word out about our small but mighty group of military moms and associates in the Portland and southwest Washington chapter who wholeheartedly have the same belief in the importance of community support and recognition.
There were two special guests in attendance who I found particularly inspiring. First, World War 2 veteran Carl Lingerfelter who served from 1942-1946 in the south Pacific. He will be 100 on July 26. Understandably, he is a bit frail, but he stood without help at all the times when the audience stood. He looked down on the new recruits with a warm smile and stood the entire time of greeting each as they walked the gauntlet of handshaking well-wishers. (There were probably 25 elected officials and veterans lined up.)
The second special guest who enchanted all of us with his robust and beautiful voice was Police Officer Rey Reynolds who sang the national anthem early in the ceremony, and “I’m proud to be an American” at the end. This after telling of his 5 sons – 1 Air Force, 2 Marines, and 1 Soldier. He assured the parents that “It’s going to be alright”, and giving his promise to protect the families here at home while they are out protecting our country.
One of the funniest moments of the evening, was after the ceremony, during the cake social time. I offered to take a picture of a mom, dad and their son who is going into the US Army as a Combat Medic. They were struggling to take a selfie, so I jumped in and offered to snap a pic for them. But an Air Force recruit was photo bombing the shot, and when I called him out “no Air Force in this pic!” that got quite the response from the student recruits in the vicinity!
Not that I’m biased against Air Force, but I was pretty sure this family was just seeing black and gold. They were so proud of their son, and quick to acknowledge how this has been his desire for many years.
Families like this are why 2MyHero exists. They may not realize it yet, but while he is at boot camp, letters from home might be more important than even he realizes now or then. There will be times they won’t be able to take a selfie with him, but will want him to know they are rooting for him. They will want to give him something tangible to look back on and remember those who love him back home.
For a short time, a 10% off coupon on Amazon is being offered for A Marine Now, An Airman Now, A Coastie Now, A Sailor Now and A Soldier Now individual military graduation greeting cards. 2MyHero mixed packs and Thank You packs are also available on Etsy.
But 2MyHero offers military greeting cards for more than just boot camp graduation. There are Encouragement, Birthday, Promotion and Retirement greetings as well as packs of Thank You card – specific for each branch of service.
The future of our youth depends in part on our participation as a community to support them in their endeavors. So, whether or not you choose 2MyHero or not, pick up a pen and write a word of encouragement to them at whatever stage they are in. Letters are not just for boot camp! It’s an investment you don’t want to miss out on.