Friday, May 27, 2016

The Museum of American Armor’s Girl Scout Leadership Challenge Essay Contest

A few weeks ago we posted an opportunity for girls to enter The Museum of American Armor’s Girl Scout Leadership Challenge, which encouraged girls to submit essays that would highlight a better understanding of the heroes within our own families and those throughout our communities. Lauren’s essay received the First Place Award. The other winners are listed after the essay. We are very proud of all the girls who entered this essay contest.


Please take a few minutes to read the essay – We hope you’ll find it as inspiring as we did! And, most importantly, keep those who served - and those who still serve - our country in your thoughts over the weekend.



Lauren’s Essay: 

OO-RAH was a call I heard since I was a baby.  Every holiday with my Pop Pop and uncles, this call was always shouted as soon as they saw each other. It took me years to understand what it truly meant though.  It was used as a battle cry many years ago but today is used almost as a brotherhood type greeting.


My Pop Pop was a Marine and couldn't have been prouder when his two sons later joined the Marines.  Arriving from Ireland, Pop was ready to serve a country that would give him opportunity and allow him a new life.  He wasn't in the US for very long before he had his paperwork in.  The poverty and despair that he left in Dublin would be replaced with service and exotic travel.  He loved every day of his service and loved his new country even more.  His fellow marines called him Ireland and many were shocked when at the end of their service they heard him called by his real last name, Byrne.  They always thought it was Ireland. He never did see action but was prepared to defend his new nation as he was stationed on a ship ready to invade during the Cuban Missile crisis.  Only years later did he find out that this was part of a Navy and Marine planned strategy that would have been even larger than the Allied invasion force on D-Day.


Many years later my two uncles would also join.  My Uncle Jack served his four years without seeing any action but was called back months after his discharge to serve in Dessert Storm.  Off he went to train for this war; my family saw him go with heavy hearts and prayers.  They were proud of him and silently knew what an honor it was to defend our nation.  The war soon ended just as his unit was next for deployment and he too arrived back without seeing action.


Uncle Robert is the youngest in the Byrne family.  He was the last to enlist, and saw the most. He and his Marine expeditionary unit were sent to Mogadishu Somalia Africa as part of Operation Restore Hope. There they provided security for both American and United Nation forces while running patrols throughout the Mogadishu International Airport and its surroundings.  He was the last American force there and ensured everyone was pulled out safely.


Years later it was Uncle Robert's military training that allowed him to save himself and several people when the Trade centers fell.  His firehouse was the first called to the scene when the building was attacked. He was in building one when the second building fell.  Again, he was one of the last to leave and pulled people to safety. 


It is instances like that, where I realize how much of an appreciation I have for the brave men and women who serve in the military. Many men and women devote countless amounts of their time to serve our country and protect our rights, and even risk their lives. For this we must appreciate them and do our part to make the time they spend to protect us worth it. My family works closely with the American Legion Hall in my community, in order to give back to those who serve us.  My older brother collected over 800 books for American soldiers and mailed them out to distant troops as his personal project to the service men and women.  My personal project took place this past Fall. I collected over 300 new and lightly used suits and jackets as part of Nassau's Veteran Stand Down fair.  We believe that in addition to regularly helping support our veterans through care packages and collections organized in town, we should also personally support our current and former soldiers.  They dedicated years protecting my freedom, I can certainly dedicate a few weekends of my time supporting them.  I'm proud to be a Junior member of the American Legion Women's Auxiliary also.  To all our service men and women out there, Semper Fi and of course OO-RAH!


The other winners of the contest:

Second Place: Jillian K. Oceanside Troop 2228, and has earned her Silver.

Third Place: Julia C.  East Meadow Troop 2033, and has earned her Silver.


Honorable Mentions
Jillian P., WH/FS 1025 – has earned Bronze and Silver
Asmita J., Oceanside 2228, has earned Silver
Bianca L., Bellmore 971, earned Silver and is receiving her Gold in June.
Janine B.,  ELLM 2458, earned Silver and receiving Gold in June
Hannah T., East Meadow 3174
Amanda W., Manhasset 520, earned Silver and receiving Gold in June
Dessie D., Garden City 1488, ran our Girls Who Code program