Washington, D.C. – December 2015…More than 100 youth members of the Young Marines from across the country traveled to Pearl Harbor from December 5th – December 7th to honor veterans in a very special way.
The once in lifetime trip began with a beach cleanup day at Ft. Hays beach on Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay. The next day the Young Marines unveiled a memorial stone on the Memorial Walkway at the National Cemetery of the Pacific and performed a wreath laying. The trip culminated with the Young Marines leading the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Honolulu.
The Young Marines were the first youth organization to unveil a memorial stone at the National Cemetery of the Pacific – the Punchbowl. The plaque on the stone reads: “Young Marines, a National Youth Organization – Honoring the legacy of our pacific campaign veterans through education and patriotic volunteerism.”
“We were proud to be the first youth organization to install one of these meaningful memorial stones,” said Mike Kessler, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines. “Young Marines are dedicated to veterans everywhere. Our youth members are learning history from those who made history.”
On Monday, Dec. 7, the Young Marines led the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Honolulu. They carried the banners of the 12 capital ships that were attacked. The parade’s objective was to honor the heroes and survivors of Pearl Harbor and World War II, to pay tribute to veterans, active duty military members and military families, to celebrate freedom and to keep in remembrance the heinous events of Dec. 7, 1941.
The participating Young Marines units were:
- North San Diego Young Marines, Vista, California
- Chesty Puller Young Marines, Ravenna, Ohio
- Douglas County Young Marines, Parker, Colorado
- Carbon Glacier Young Marines, Enumclaw, Washington
- Columbia River Young Marines, Kennewick, Washington
- Oregon Cascade Young Marines, Portland, Oregon
- Poudre River Young Marines, Greeley, Colorado
- MCAS Tustin Young Marines, Costa Mesa, California
- Southern Oregon Young Marines, Medford, Oregon
- Natchaung River Young Marines, Dayville, Connecticut
- Pyramid Rock Young Marines, MCBH Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii
- Midwest Central Young Marines, Peoria, Illinois
- National Headquarters, Washington, DC
Young Marines units raised funds at their local levels to supplement the costs of traveling to Hawaii to attend the commemoration ceremonies. The youths used their creativity and applied the program’s core values – leadership, teamwork and discipline – to implement unique and effective fundraising efforts.
The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members. The program focuses on teaching the values of leadership, teamwork and self-discipline, so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
Since the Young Marines’ humble beginnings in 1959 with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to 280 units with 7,000 youth and 2,500 adult volunteers in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Okinawa with affiliates in other countries.
For more information, visit http://www.YoungMarines.com.