I am most active in Air Force ROTC. From physical training twice a week, Leadership lab, Air Science classes, extra workouts, drills and morale even flight study sessions ROTC is a major time commitment. Add that into a full schedule of classes and working I’ve still been able to use my ROTC community to find ways to relax after stressful weeks.
In September 2019 the Air Force celebrated its 72nd birthday. We ended our weekly leadership lab early in order to celebrate. We began by singing the first verse of the Air Force song. Next the detachment gave out scholarships from alumni of AFROTC Det. 645. Then we ended with cake. While during training the environment of ROTC is very focused and concentrated on the tasks at hand the cadets always find ways to unwind. We rarely have time to do this during training. Normally we fit these in during ROTC tailgates during OSU football home games, or breakfast after physical training.
The ability to unwind and relax after bad training sessions, rough PT workouts, hard classes and the general stress of college life has been pivotal in my success during the beginning of my first semester of college. Having so many people who go through the same trainings, the same early hours, an the same failures and successes lends it’s help in a feeling of community outside out training. It gives meaning to the line of the Airmen’s Creed we recite every week. “I will never leave an airmen behind.”
About a week before celebrating the Air Force’s birthday, the entire country stopped to recognize the 18th year anniversary of September 11 2019. For physical training one day close to the events anniversary, the detachment did a 110 stair climb, to memorialize the 110 flights of stairs the emergency responders attempted to climb on 9/11.
The meaningfulness of my future service to the country had never seemed like something that could directly help other people. 9/11 was the worst terrorist attack on United States soil, it has caused the most casualties for the FDNY, and it was the beginning of the United States’ longest war. A war I had grown up with, one that inherently shaped my generation’s childhood.
I was about to turn one when 9/11 occurred. While the yearly discussions in school every year taught me of the events of the day, it was not until this day that I recognized the heroism of the FDNY, and it’s tremendous effects on my life, with a future in the military. We had the entirety of our PT time to complete this climb, which we did at a memorial pace, with just our PT uniform on and a water bottle in our hands. By the time we got about halfway through all I was thinking about were the fire fighters, sprinting up and down the stairs of the World Trade Centers, in full gear, carrying people out.