Military Newcomers honored, sworn in for Armed Forces Day
May 20, 2013
Little Falls, New York - Deep in Central New York roughly 70 newly enlistees were honored and sworn into the military on Armed Forces Day, at the historic General Nicholas Herkimer's Home, by Maj. Gen. Peter Lennon, commander of 377th Theater Sustainment Command.
Many Americans celebrate Armed Forces Day to pay tribute to the men and women who serve in the United States' armed forces.
Marching confidently down the aisle as loved ones took photos and video, these enlistees' faces said it all, the anticipation of a new chapter of their lives waiting to transpire in a couple of weeks. The majority of these new enlistees will start their military career right after their high school graduation.
For most of these newly military newcomers, it's a family tradition to serve in the Armed Forces.
"I'm ready to start this new journey of my life. It is a family tradition to serve my country," said Nicholas Ciccarelli, 17, of Herkimer, N.Y., whose step-father is currently serving.
Ciccarelli, who leaves for basic training in August, said he joined for college tuition benefits and to serve his country full time.
None of this recognition would have happened without the support of "Our Community Salutes of Central New York," (OCSCNY), a community-based organization that recognizes and supports local young men and women, who have decided to volunteer into the Armed Forces.
Numerous dignitaries attended and spoke at the event, including New York Assemblyman Jim Tedisco and Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, local American Legions, Central New York small businesses and keynote speakers Maj. Gen. Lennon and Command Sgt. Maj. Nagee H. Lunde.
Lennon opened his speech on the importance of family and their support on these young men's and women's decision to join the military.
"Today is to recognize every Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, Coast Guard, and Marine and their family members. The strength of the Army, the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the Marines is in that family. It makes us who we are," he said.
He also stressed the newcomers on seizing the opportunities that every branch of the military will be offering to them and on the expectations and changes each one of them will encounter in the next upcoming months.
"You will come back different and stronger than ever. You are going to be a great source of pride, not only your family but to the country. You will be part of an adventure, of a great culture, nonetheless you will be part of what makes this Nation so strong," he said.
As the honorees rose up to be sworn in, many stood up proudly with their heads held high ready to start their mission.
"Maj. Gen. Lennon's passionate speech motivated me even more to follow the footsteps of my family's military history. I'm going to be part of a great organization and I'm proud of that- can't wait," said Alexander Plamondon, 17, a U.S. Army Reserve enlistee from Cassville, N.Y.
After the official swearing, all honorees received a challenge coin to commemorate their enlistment into the military.
"It is important to recognize and support these special local young men and women since they made the decision to join and keep our country safe," said OCSCNY event coordinator Lynn Kent of Edmeston, N.Y.
Kent said she heard about OCS through enlistment ceremonies and decided to dedicate her time along with other local volunteers to support these high school students' decision.
Since August of 2012, Lynn and other OCSCNY volunteers have spent countless hours reaching out to local recruiters and coordinating OCSCNY's first annual event at the historic General Nicholas Herkimer's home, a local Revolutionary Hero who helped end the siege of Fort Schulyer from the British.
As the newly military newcomers went back to their families and friends, many showed a sense of pride and self-assurance of their decision.
"I'm ready to challenge and push myself even harder. I want to prove there more to me than my gender," said Trisha Ann Lampson, an Army enlistee from Canastota, N.Y.
Lampson, 18, decided to join the Army because of her father. She leaves in June for basic training at Fort Sill, Okla. Once basic training is completed, she will start her military profession as a medical laboratory specialist at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
"I am very thrilled yet nervous," said Lampson but overall she said she feels confident knowing she has the loving support from her father and the community.