- Meyersdale Area School District
MAHS students participates in centennial ceremony
MEYERSDALE - For the first time in 100 years, civilians were permitted to approach and lay flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. One area student was among those to enjoy this honor. Johnny Miller, and members of the Cumberland Civil Air Patrol, traveled to Arlington National Cemetery on November 10 to observe the centennial of our nation’s most revered memorial. This public laying of flowers was among several events and activities planned to mark the 100th year of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration Public Flower Ceremony was the first time in nearly 100 years that the public was allowed to walk on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Plaza.
Miller said he was humbled to be able to walk on this hallowed ground, deeply aware of the great honor it was to participate.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was erected in 1921 to pay tribute to unidentified service members who have died in conflict. The Tomb of the Unknowns has been guarded continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, since 1937, by the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as "The Old Guard."
When Miller’s Squadron Commander, Captain Brett Cole, learned of the opportunity to participate in this ceremony, he knew it was something his cadets should not miss. The squadron’s Deputy Commander for Cadets, Senior Member Vicki Wilt, volunteered for the task and escorted 11 cadets, which included two from another Maryland squadron. The young men and women traveled to Arlington in the morning hours of November 10. They placed flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as well as on the headstones of other graves in the National Cemetery.
Established in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and, as such, is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine Cessna aircraft and more than 2,100 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of all search and rescue operations within the contiguous United States as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 107 lives last year. CAP’s 56,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Members also serve as mentors to over 23,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.
Miller joined the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program four years ago at the suggestion of his Dad, who had a friend in the group when he was a younger man. Miller is the son of Maggie and John Miller.
Miller was hooked the moment he attended his first meeting and has loved every experience his membership has afforded. The group meets every Tuesday from 6PM to 8PM at the Cumberland Airport.
Across the nation, there are 27,000 cadets ages 12 to 20 years in age and attend 1,000 hometown squadrons. For more information on the many benefits and advantages of this program, visit GoCivilAirPatrol.com.
Miller said the group has taught him leadership skills, discipline and responsibility. Currently an executive officer, Miller plans to parlay these experiences into a career in the U.S. Army upon graduation. A goal he set for himself many years ago but believes he will achieve due to his time as a Civil Air Patrol Cadet.
“It was such a humbling experience, it was incredible and you could feel how important it was,” Miller added.”I was so honored to be able to be a part of this ceremony and grateful for the sacrifice these soldiers made for our freedoms.”