On Friday of last week, our school once again took time to acknowledge and appreciate those who serve our country so bravely. Brownie Troop 1280 presented the colors and led the pledge of allegiance. Dr. McDuffie spoke about why we celebrate Veterans Day and took time to pay tribute to the many family members who are serving or have served our country during our flag salute assembly. Then special guest speaker, Fleet Master Chief (AW/SW) JoAnn Marie Ortloff, a decorated Navy Veteran spoke to our children about 5 very special life learnings they could all take forward into their day. Her message was warm and inspiring and so we wanted to share a piece of it here for those who were not able to attend.
Mrs. Ortloff comments include:
All of my school subjects were very important in order for me to succeed as a Navy Sailor. Sailing on the Navy ships out on the sea requires you to be strong, brave and smart and active. That’s why science, technology, engineering and math are so important to learn and keep learning.
I learned even more lessons as a Sailor, and I would like to share five of my favorite ones with you:
#1: Your words are very important. What you say to someone should always be the truth, and be kind. When you speak, you can’t take it back. Once someone hears what you say, they will always remember you for it. So think about what you are going to say, before you say it, even if it is in person, or on the internet or in a letter or in an email.
#2: Always do the right thing, even when you are by yourself when no one is looking. Your friends and families and strangers are watching how you act and how you treat other people, and then they decide if they want to be your friend or work on a project with you based on your behavior.
#3: Sometimes work at home or learning in school can be hard. Just because it is hard doesn’t mean it is impossible, it just means there is a whole new world of possibilities if you keep trying and finish what you start. Never give up because something is hard – or else you will never know what it looks like when it becomes easy.
#4: Make lots of friends and share all the wonderful lessons you learn. These friends will be with you for a lifetime, so help set them up for success too.
#5: If you fall, get right back up and keep moving forward. If you see someone else fall, reach out and help them back up too, and move forward together.
Okay, now close your eyes, keep them closed. Imagine being on a big Navy ship, sailing in the big open ocean with the waves rolling around you, and the ship softly rocking and the wind pushing a breeze over your hair and the sun floating in front of you all bright and warm.
Imagine your friends are with you on that big Navy ship, sharing a day of being brave and standing strong as you all join together to protect each other from danger and working to protect your families back home from danger.
Now imagine your big ship coming home, pulling up to the pier after being away from home for a long time, and all of your family and friends are waving and cheering and welcoming you home.
This is what it feels like to be a Navy Sailor and to be an American Veteran.