Young Marines, Learning Important Lessons Early

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Hope Matters

Young Marines honor veterans with wreaths in Pensacola.

Private 1st Class Michaela Cantwell earned her way into boot camp by meeting application criteria and raising the necessary funds for a uniform and equipment. She cried after her first session. Not because it was too tough on her—but because she thought her mother would make her quit after hearing details of the tough regimen.

At just nine years old, Cantwell became an honor graduate of the Young Marines, joining 10,000 other members of America’s finest youth. The Marine Corps League began in 1958 with one unit of boys, and has grown to more than 300 units of boys and girls, with 3,000 adult volunteers worldwide. It’s open to any youngster over the age of 8 in good standing at school.

This month’s Wreaths Across America ceremony provided an excellent window into this military culture of kids, ranging from 8 to 17. This marked the Emerald Coast Young Marine’s 2nd year of participation. In helping to place 3,000 wreaths at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Fla., they complemented the 400,000 wreaths dedicated to our fallen soldiers across America.

Led by 17-year old Sergeant Michael Warren, their 20-member unit stood in perfect formation, ready to honor the military leaders who came, and died, before them. Private 1st Class Cantwell presented the wreath for the “unknown soldier” at the ceremony.

Their newest Young Marine honor grad, Private 1st Class Lily Harris, joined the ranks in her big brothers’ footsteps. With one Marine brother having served five years, and the other one currently deployed with his Marine unit, you could say it runs in her blood—something Harris sharply understands at 11 years of age.

Living out the military courtesies and customs gained in boot camp shows up in various ways. Along with their participation in Wreaths Across America, they regularly carry out other community service acts. Families First is next on their list this month; the Young Marines will hand out gifts to over 400 children who have experienced hardship, abuse or neglect.

The unit’s leaders say Young Marine Sergeant Warren’s dedication is key in the Emerald Coast unit’s operations. Warren has also made plans for active duty Marine service after college.

The commitment, honor and service shown by the entire unit are reflective of the Young Marine Corps tenants. Their exemplary leadership, discipline and teamwork show qualities beyond their years.

Maryann Makekau is an Air Force veteran, spouse of a retired member, and mother of two grown military children. She’s also a children’s author and founder of Hope Matters.

11 comments
Gerrod_Granger
Gerrod_Granger


@Don_Bacon  1.We are not forced to join the young marines, some people ACTUALLY want to do something with there lives. Therefore they have every right to teach us skills that we WANT to learn.you say we should be learning "more appropriate skills"do you insted mean learn how to play a xbox?

2. enlisting is YOUR choice, they dont control that. I joined the young marines knowing i am going to learn military skills that i can use later in life and, they care about kids more than most programs. They DON'T ask anything that is unreasonable. I wanted to join the miltary before i joined the young marines. They had nothing to do with that choice because i wasnt in the young marines then.




Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

This from an old Marine --   IT'S YOUR BOY THAT MATTERS

The Government declares war. To say helplessly:  As individuals we have nothing to do with it, can't prevent it.  But WHO ARE WE?   Well, "WE" right now are the mothers and fathers of every able-bodied boy of military age in the United States. "WE" are also you young men of voting age and over,  that they'll use for cannon fodder.  And "WE" can prevent it.   Now--you MOTHERS, particularly.  The only way you can resist all this war hysteria and beating tomtoms is by hanging onto the love you bear your boys.  When you listen to some well-worded, well-delivered speech, just remember that it's nothing but Sound.  It's your boy that matters.  And no amount of sound can make up to you for the loss of your boy. After you've heard one of those speeches and your blood's all hot and you want to bite somebody like Hitler -- go upstairs to where your boy's asleep. . . .Look at him. Put your hand on that spot on the back of his neck. The place you used to love to kiss when he was a baby. Just rub it a little. You won't wake him up, he knows it's just you. Just look at his strong, fine young body because only the best boys are chosen for war. Look at this splendid young creature who's part of yourself, then close your eyes for a moment and I'll tell you what can happen . . .

Somewhere--five thousand miles from home. Night. Darkness. Cold. A drizzling rain. The noise is terrific. All Hell has broken loose. A star shell burst in the air. Its unearthly flare lights up the muddy field. There's a lot of tangled rusty barbed wires out there and a boy hanging over them--his stomach ripped out, and he's feebly calling for help and water. His lips are white and drawn. He's in agony.

There's your boy. The same boy who's lying in bed tonight. The same boy who trusts you. . . .Are you going to run out on him? Are you going to let someone beat a drum or blow a bugle and make him chase after it? Thank God, this is a Democracy and by your voice and your vote you can save your boy. -- MajGen  Smedley D. Butler, USMC, double recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, 1939 (from a  broadcast)

KarrahBrathwaite
KarrahBrathwaite

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P2B12
P2B12 like.author.displayName 1 Like

the Young Marines is all about teaching kids to live a healthy, drug-free life style. It's about appreciating and honoring our veterans and becoming a good leader and citizen. Many kids never join the military - but the lessons learned in Young Marines continue to guide them.

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

@P2B12 1. Marines have no business teaching kids,  we have plenty of teachers and instructors able to teach kids something useful, more appropriate skills than laying wreaths in cemeteries and standing in perfect formation.Children should have a childhood; at least give them that.


2. It's an enlistment ploy and you know it. --Private 1st Class Lily Harris joined the ranks in her big brothers’ footsteps and Sergeant Michael Warren has also made plans for active duty Marine service after college. That's what drives the program, not any concern for kids.

gerrodgranger
gerrodgranger

1.We are not forced to join the young marines, some people ACTUALLY want to do something with there lives. Therefore they have every right to teach us skills that we WANT to learn.you say we should be learning "more appropriate skills"do you insted mean learn how to play a xobx?

2. enlisting is YOUR choice, they dont control that. I joined the young marines knowing i am going to learn military skills that i can use later in life and, they care about kids more than most programs. They DON'T ask anything that is unreasonable. I wanted to join the miltary before i joined the young marines. They had nothing to do with that choice because i wasnt in the young marines then.

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

Start 'em that young in the military learning "important lessons" of militarism? That's really sick, a contributing reason why we have endless war involving the mass killing of foreigners.

JerryBuddy
JerryBuddy like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Don_Bacon 

The Young Marines are all about Discipline, Leadership, Teamwork and a Drug Free life style. That is the lessons they learn. Maybe you should check out a local unit.

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

@JerryBuddy @Don_Bacon I know what the Young Marines are all about, and it's not a good thing, it's detrimental to the development of a child who needs to adventure out on her own and discover what she likes and what she's good at, and experience playful situations, and art and music, and not be regimented into a uniformed oppressive military-adulating routine of Discipline, Leadership and Teamwork at that young age particularly when it involves placing wreaths on headstones of people she hasn't even known. It's sick.

EdCrusie
EdCrusie like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@Don_Bacon
Do you really think that it is sick to instill some discipline in a young person life? Joining the Young Marines is not unlike joining the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies or the Girl Scouts. It is all about belonging to a group of people that give you a chance of at least starting down the right path to a good life. I mean, these young people could just as well have joined a gang of some sort where he/she would have learned the bad things in life. Belonging to the Young Marines, doesn’t always lead a person to join the actual military when they become of age, but it does at least give them another look at life and what they could do with their life. And even if joining the Young Marines did in fact lead to a career in the military, would that be such a bad way to go?


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