At least once a week The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps [JROTC] cadets from Klein ISD high schools honor the nation’s armed forces by proudly wearing their uniforms. On Monday, Nov. 11 the JROTC cadets of Klein wore them to honor the local veterans from around the Spring area during their 18th Annual Veterans Day Pass-in-Review at Klein Memorial Stadium.
“We’ve done the parade before and I’ve had the privilege to perform for veterans in other organizations as well, but doing it with Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps [AFJROTC] makes it special and a true honor,” senior Joseph Greer, AFJROTC executive officer, said.
With this being such a momentous ceremony to perform, hours of preparation and time goes into getting ready. It is a huge collaboration between all the outstanding JROTC units in the district to look sharp and honor the veterans.
“I was super proud to see the entire unit marching on a cadence with the other Klein units,” senior Gabrielle Hart, AFJROTC group commander, said.
Although each unit works hard, there is an extra amount of pressure on the hosting unit. This year’s host was Klein High, their units student-lead staff organized the other distinguished units.
“Although I was more involved in the parade last year because it was hosted by my unit, I think that the parade was kept up to the great standard that the district has established in teaching our corps the value and need for an appreciation of those who have paved a path many of us wish to follow,” senior Yash Varma, AFJROTC deputy group commander, said.
While Klein High did most of the planning, the Oak AFJROTC unit always presents 6 U.S. flags accompanied by 50 states flags. The flag mass is centered in the middle of the football field. With a last-minute change of commanders and only a few days left before the actual event, it was left to Hart to command the flag mass.
“Moving a position with such short notice didn’t bother too much. Senior Master Seargent Johnson went over the script with me and I knew that I would perform well under pressure when it became essential,” Hart said. “The flag mass performed well as a flight. I was very pleased with their performance, as were the instructors.”
The event includes a welcoming, invocation, the national anthem is played, a presentation of the POW/MIA flag, presentation of the armed forces flags, as well as the playing of taps. The Pass-in-Review ceremony itself is a military tradition that is a way for newly assigned commanders to inspect their troops along with visiting officers and guest speakers are invited.
This year’s Pass in Review featured a large number of distinguished guests ranging from all the principals from the participating schools, the KISD Board of Trustees, officials from the district and Superintendent Jenny McGown.
“It’s an incredible event I have attended for several years. We had a very large turnout of veterans that attended both the breakfast and the Pass-In-Review Ceremony,” Klein Oak Principal Mr. Thomas Hensely said.
The appreciation of the Klein ISD staff, local veterans, and the community who showed up to see this event doesn’t compare to the pride held by the cadets knowing they were doing something to positively support veterans both locally and nationwide.
“This year’s parade definitely felt a lot more special, knowing that one day I can attend the same parade but from the stands, looking at the future of our nation,” Greer, who is in the process of enlisting in the Navy, said. “Listening to my branch’s song as well as the Air Force song sent chills down my body and I nearly broke bearing to smile at the fact that I’m now a part of something so much bigger than AFJROTC.”