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SUBMITTED by Vaughn Faison, Lyons Youth Ambassadors (11-Nov-2009)

Veterans Day is a time to remember those that fought bravely for our freedom. It is also when we must recognize those souls that are currently fighting to ensure the safety of that same freedom. This past summer I was lucky enough to be chosen for Boys State. After my week there I began to appreciate both the Veterans and Veterans Day more.

Vaughn Faison speaks in Lyons, NY on Veterans Day 2009--photo by Mark De Cracker

When I arrived at Boys State, I was feeling the way that many others were. "No Playstation, no Xbox, no cell phone, for a whole week." "How will I survive?" it didn't get any better when the Marines began shouting commands at us. Especially when failure to immediately obey those commands resulted in punishment for everybody. Lets just say, I don't think I've ever done that many push-ups in my entire life. I found it very difficult to understand why the actions of one person caused the entire group to suffer. Eventually I began to see that even though we were angry at that person for earning us that punishment, we were more focused on helping him out so that he wouldn't mess up again. I then understood that the Marines were teaching us that a team is only as strong as its weakest member. As it became later in the week, I learned more about the Marines personally. Our music assistant for the band was an extremely talented jazz pianist, but he explained to us, "I am a Marine before I am a musician." I really admire the way he puts others before himself. I feel that too many times in this country we are apt to think of our personal needs before the needs of others. This is where we can all learn from our Armed Forces.

My week at Boys State helped to change my thoughts about Veterans Day and our Armed Forces in general. We must appreciate our Veterans for all that they are, and all that we are not. Without them, the place we call America would not be the same.


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2 Comments to "Veterans Day"

  1. Seth C. Burgess Said,

    Great words, now I'm thinking back on my own Boys State experience at the SUNY Morrisville campus...

    Posted on Thu Nov 12, 10:27:00 AM EST

  2. Gil Burgess Said,

    With the appreciation that Vaughn has for a program like Boys State, his country and the veterans who have served it, perhaps he and other such students should give some thought to attending one of our nation's service academies (Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard or Merchant Marine) or an ROTC or NROTC program. We need our commissioned officers to be leaders of this caliber!

    Posted on Thu Nov 12, 11:17:00 AM EST


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