Graduation season has passed, and many high school graduates are anticipating the start of a new chapter of their lives. I remember heading for Troy University in Alabama, wondering what experiences awaited me, and who I would become in those formative years. One thing I knew for sure: I had an exciting future ahead of me, and I was going to fully embrace it.
College is just one option following high school. Many choose to take this path, but some decide on another that is especially deserving of recognition: enlisting in the military. This is not an easy decision for either the graduate or the family. It requires lots of thought and serious consideration of one’s values, passions, and commitment.
I want to sincerely express my thanks to Ohio’s high school graduates who have elected to enlist in our country’s military. It is a great honor and responsibility that reflects a clear dedication to serving our nation and preserving the freedoms that Americans hold dear. As a country, we commend you for your sacrifice and willingness to defend our homes, communities, and families.
As you move into the required training and preparation, hold onto all that you have learned, while leaving ample room for new knowledge and skills. Though your uniform may resemble all the others who have chosen to enlist, remember that you are a unique individual with much to offer to the world. At the same time, you are part of a bigger whole—a noble tradition dating back many, many years. You help make our country what it is, a place that we can be proud to call home.
In this new and honorable experience, stay strong and brave. When the going gets tough, remember that you have entire communities behind you that support your journey, and that you are making a difference for fellow Americans. Thank you again for your service and loyalty to this great nation, and I wish you all the best as you take the next big step in life.