By Spc. Carolyn M. Kettelhut- 318th Press Camp HeadquartersSeptember 16, 2008
September 11, 2001 was a turning point in many American lives.
The image of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers is forever etched in our memories.
Seven years after this pivotal day in our country's history, young men and women here in Chicago, dedicate their lives to fighting for our freedom by joining the military.
In a military service recognition ceremony held in downtown Chicago Thursday at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Plaza, General William S. Wallace, Commanding General of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, swore in close to 50 of these new enlistees in the Army.
When asked what he thinks about the new recruits entering the service, Wallace said he thinks there are many leadership and growth opportunities the military provides that young people should consider.
"I've been in the Army 39, going on 40, years and it is a great life," said Wallace.
Wallace said he is proud of the people who have raised their right hand to support and defend the Constitution of the United States while the nation is at war.
"People don't necessarily realize this is the first protracted war since the American Revolution that was being fought by an all-volunteer force," said Wallace.
During the ceremony, Wallace re-enlisted three recruiters; presented six recruiters with rings and awarded a recruiter the prestigious Glen E. Morrell award, the highest award a recruiter can earn.
Joe Cantafio, a local musician, entertained the audience with songs about the heroism of American Soldiers.
Cantafio said that seeing all the soldiers there stirred his emotions and he felt honored to be at the recognition ceremony and to play the songs for the crowd. "This is a very special, holy day for me," said Cantafio.
Maurice Arrella, one of the new recruits entering the Army as a parachute rigger, said he felt honored to be there.
"It is an honor to be here because when you realize what the people in front of you did, it is honorable," said Arrella.
He mentioned his goal in the Army is to be all he can be, as the famous phrase goes.
"It is more than just putting on a uniform. It is a lifestyle," Arrella said.