HONORING OUR HEROES: Central Arizona Young Marines pay tribute at Arlington National Cemetery
Inauguration week for the Central Arizona Young Marines began with an early-morning ride on the Washington D.C. Metro subway to Arlington National Cemetery.
Lance Cpl. Kailynn Bray, Cpl. Ian Watson, Lance Cpl. Dominic Lindquist, and Staff Sgt. Michael Reveile said placing a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was a moving experience and an honor.
"It was so emotional for me to watch," Cpl. Alex Hogue said. "The people there gave everything for our country. We have so many freedoms because of them."
Afterwards, Michael Myers, unit commander, said a guard told him the presentation by the cadets was the best he'd seen in a long time.
"We would like to thank the people of the quad-cities for their support of the Central Arizona Young Marines," said Norm Stephens, unit executive officer.
Proceeds from the sales of raffle tickets and donations of raffle items funded the experience for cadets, ranging from 11 to 17 years old. For some cadets, this was their first trip from home.
"We did so many things that I will probably never do in another lifetime," Watson said. "And we did them all in 10 days."
"Visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was powerful, because I know so many people who served in Vietnam," Pvt. Joseph Littleton said.
Lance Cpl. Nicholas Penrod said the Lincoln Memorial museum presented so much history.
"In movies, the Lincoln Memorial (seems) very small, but it was huge," added Lindquist.
Cadets also visited the World War II and Korean War memorials, the National Archives, Gettysburg, and promoted their program at the National Day of Service where they met Chelsea Clinton.
"We got to go to the Naval Academy at Annapolis and tour it with Navy and Marine corps majors," said Gunnery Sgt. Brittany Carr. "We toured Quantico and HMX-1, which is the helicopter for the president."
Cpl. James Zurow and Cpl. Thayer Flowers liked the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
"We saw all the wars the Marines fought in, what they sacrificed, and how many died for our country," Watson said.
Central Arizona Young Marines is a program for youths 8 to 18 years old that's supported by the Marine Corps League and the Marine Corps. It focuses on a drug-, alcohol- and tobacco-free lifestyle, and teaches leadership, teamwork, discipline and respect. For more information, go to the website, centralazyoungmarines.com.
"The Young Marines teaches you how to have respect for yourself and others, and it helps you work better with the team," Reveile said. "It teaches you leadership."