Every year, the Santa Cruz Valley Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars collaborates with the Sahuarita High School NJROTC and Rio Rico High School JROTC programs to organize the Massing of the Colors and Service of Remembrance at the SUSD Auditorium.
Honoring the United States: Flags on Stage
During this event, cadets take on the responsibility of placing individual state flags, alongside flags representing local and national service organizations, on the stage. This symbolic gesture is a way for them to pay homage to the United States and express gratitude for the contributions of service members.
Special Tribute: Recognizing Local Veterans and Service Members
In addition to the general tribute to the United States, the event also serves as a platform to honor local veterans and active-duty service members. The commemoration coincides with Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on Jan. 15, adding a special dimension to the occasion.
Cadet Involvement and Leadership Development
Kevin Reyes, the 17-year-old Cadet Master Chief Petty Officer from Sahuarita High School, took on the responsibility of reading Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. In expressing his commitment to the program, Reyes highlights the broader impact it has on young individuals.
Reyes emphasizes the program’s role in not only fostering military aspirations but also in developing well-rounded citizens. He believes that promoting the program within towns is crucial, as it helps individuals discover the essence of citizenship, builds character, and establishes leadership qualities in every participating cadet.
From El Salvador to Leadership: Warren English’s Journey
Warren English, a 17-year-old Cadet Petty Officer third class from Sahuarita High School, served as the chaplain for the event, leading three prayers. English’s journey to the JROTC program began when he moved from El Salvador about six months ago. Seeking a meaningful engagement in school, he was intrigued by the opportunities and experiences offered by the ROTC program.
For English, joining the program was not just about personal growth but also about connecting with others and broadening his horizons.
Beyond Flags: Flag Folding, Speakers, and Remembrance
The event went beyond flag presentations and individual contributions. It featured a flag folding demonstration, multiple speakers sharing their insights, and a solemn Service of Remembrance Ceremony.
In Closing: Reflecting on a Commemorative Occasion
In conclusion, the Massing of the Colors and Service of Remembrance is a poignant annual event that goes beyond the ceremonial aspects. It serves as a platform for recognizing and appreciating the efforts of service members, fostering leadership and citizenship values among young individuals, and creating a sense of unity within the community.