Butler County high school seniors who have enlisted to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces were honored during a special ceremony Monday.
The event was the inaugural Military Recognition Ceremony and was created to honor the 100 recruits from area high schools that have enlisted in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and National Guard.
Congressman Warren Davidson, R-Troy, who served as a U.S. Army Ranger, addressed the students andtold the recruits that it is an honor to serve your country and that there is a greater appreciation today of what that means than ever before in the nation’s history.
“People are far more important than things and that is what our military is made up of,” he said. “We have great technology and I know you will be able to fight and win with the men and women on your left and right. You should also fight and win with the support of the American people. People generally appreciate those who are willing to give everything on behalf of a grateful nation.”
He added, “for me it was one of the greatest decision I ever made — to serve.”
Chris Brown, superintendent, the Butler County Educational Service Center, and Jon Graft, superintendent/CEO of Butler Tech, also delivered remarks at the event.
“I want to thank the seniors for their commitment to serve their country,” Brown said. “We hope that this first annual ceremony will become a tradition for years to come.”
Brown said that the idea for the event was conceived about six months ago when he and Craft were trying to figure out a way to honor the seniors who have made the decision to serve their country in the armed forces.
“We realized that many schools hold athletic signing events for students who excel on the court and on the field,” Brown explained. “We also have some schools who have academic signings, so we wanted to do an event that honored those from our public schools and three private school that are going to serve their country.”
Graft called it an “exciting day” and said there was one female recruit who was shipping out on Monday to start her military service.
The D. Russel Lee Honor Guard from Butler Tech presented the colors the ceremony, and each recruit introduced themselves and stated what branch of service they were entering as well as the name of their school.
Each senior was presented with their first challenge coin. The coins are a longstanding tradition in military service designed to recognize special achievements and build camaraderie.
The coins were donated donated by MillerCoors, and feature the ceremony date and U.S. flag on one side, and the Ohio flag and lamp of knowledge on the reverse.