Branches represented were the United States Air Force, United States Air Force Reserve, Ohio Army National Guard and the Ohio Air National Guard. Along with the active duty service members, veterans from many branches also showed.
“The members of the Kiwanis, Rotary, Exchange and MVMAA join in saying “thanks” to the men and women of our armed services,” a pamphlet for the event says.
The annual Armed Forces Day Luncheon began as a Springfield Air National Guard Base initiative in 1982, according to the pamphlet, but soon morphed into a day of celebration for all military personnel. The Armed Forces national holiday will be May 18.
Harris spoke to the active duty members and community leaders and urged them to set a new tone for young people. He said too many times military service is seen as a backup plan to college when in reality it should be a primary aspiration to many young Americans.
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“The first myth we have to destroy is ‘you can do and be anything you want to be in this country,’” Harris said. “That’s true, but I think we have to finish the rest of that story. You can be and do whatever you want in this country if work hard enough in accordance with your gifts.”
He said many young people who would otherwise thrive in the military may opt to go to college instead, doing a disservice to themselves and the county.
Another cliche Harris said is a myth was “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.”
Harris said people have bad days, and the myth is making young people quit at careers too early.
Harris also said young people must stop thinking the world is set up against them and must develop the right attitude to succeed in life.