Last week, I found myself in front of 60 3rd and 4th grade elementary students. As I stood in front of the students in my ACU Uniform, I began my presentation with “Good Afternoon Boys and Girls,” and was greeted by 60 little mouths shouting at the top of their lungs “GOOD AFTERNOON FLYNN!.” One would think that the loudness of the response was a surprise to me—but I had expected that. Moreover, the fact that the children already knew my name before I introduced myself was surprising.
When the classes entered the auditorium, I noticed the many looks and fingers that were being pointed at me. It is not often that elementary students see someone in uniform. As they were observing my uniform, the children were able to read my name tag.
After introducing myself, I explained to the children why I was wearing a uniform. I told them “I am an Army ROTC Cadet—meaning that I am in college now, and after graduating, will be joining the Army.” Before I could continue my presentation, I was interrupted by the second surprise of my visit; the boys and girls all began applauding the fact that I have chose to serve my country.
After the applause had calmed, I was finally able to get to the main part of my presentation, citizenship. For the last month, the boys and girls of Lawrence Avenue Elementary School had been learning about and focusing on being good citizens, or what the principal called “bucket filling.” (Their names are placed in a bucket every time they are caught being good) Over the last week, the children had been donating food to the Clarkson Guard. A group that supports Golden Knight Battalion alumni through mailing food items to alumni stationed overseas.
Citizenship is making a personal sacrifice to help others, and when describing the essence of citizenship I could not help but to mention the GKB Alumni stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq—sacrificing to serve their country. And I could not forget about the many children who brought in food items to support these soldiers.
All of my life, I have wanted to serve in the armed forces as my father and grandfather have done. However, going to college was also a top priority. ROTC has allowed for me to accomplish both of these goals by going to college now, and hopefully commissioning as an Army officer in four years.