FLORENCE, Italy - America's leaders of tomorrow stepped up to the responsibility of honoring America's Veterans at a joint Veterans Day memorial ceremony at the Florence American Cemetery in Tuscan, Italy Nov. 11.

"We have to keep the memories alive and respect our Veterans because if we don't then you dishonor the people who gave their lives," said Cadet Capt. Jayson Richard, Vicenza Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps commander.

Cadet Lt. Cmdr. Ashley Travis, Naples Naval JROTC company officer added "I'm grateful that I am able to stand here today because Veterans back then decided to stand up for their country and our freedom...I have so much respect for those warriors who made the ultimate sacrifice."

Travis, who is a senior at Naples American High School, has been in NJROTC for four years and was motivated to join because of her mother.

"My mom is a naval officer and growing up surrounded by the Navy and seeing all you can do in it has helped me to decided to pursue a careers as either a helicopter pilot or intelligence officer in the Navy.

Richard, who is a senior at Vicenza American High School, has been in JROTC for three years and decided to join because he always had been interested in the military.

"I have always been attracted to the lifestyle and discipline that the military offer," said Richard. "I think being involved in JROTC has refined my values and helped me to have more focus on what I do in school and in my life."

Travis added that she feels that the qualities she gained by being a part of NJROTC has helped her become a better leader and more prepared in life.

"After NJROTC, I'm looking forward to pursuing my Bachelors in International Relations using my mothers Post 9/11 GI bill hopefully at Duke University," said Travis.

Richard added that while it may see that being in JROTC is a lot of hard work, that it teaches him stuff that he wouldn't get from any other class. "

I'm honored and humbled to be able to contribute to honoring our veterans in ceremonies such as this."

According to Maj. George Smailes, Vicenza ROTC Officer Instructor, this was the first year the two groups joined together to honor Veterans at the Florence American Cemetery Veterans Day Ceremony

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16