Story by: LTC (R) Ryan Core
Photos by: WFYI
Indianapolis, IN – January 12, 2023
The Arsenal Tech High School Junior ROTC Color Guard presented the Colors of the United States of America at the 43rd annual tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The ceremony was held on a chilly mid-January morning at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Named after Crispus Attucks, a black man who was the first colonist to die in the Boston Massacre in 1770, the high school was Indianapolis’ first segregated high school built for African-Americans in 1927.
The Arsenal Tech JROTC Color Guard joined student organizations and community leaders for a touching ceremony with the theme, “Courageous Conversations Required.” Civic leaders included Indiana State Representative for House District 94, Cherrish Pryor, and John Cebron Russell, Jr., Senior Pastor at University United Methodist Church and Senior Staff Chaplain with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Student performances included music, dancing, and songs from the Building Blocks Academy Scholars and the Crispus Attucks High School Choir, as the attendees focused on how far American race relations had come, and the hard work that was still ahead.
The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. event at Crispus Attucks High School serves as a poignant reminder of the civil rights leader’s legacy and the ongoing struggle for equality. Arsenal Tech JROTC’s participation reflects their commitment to fostering inclusivity and understanding among students of different backgrounds.
Diversity plays a crucial role in shaping the educational experience at all Indianapolis Public Schools. IPS recognizes that a diverse student body contributes to a more enriching and comprehensive learning environment. Through programs like JROTC, students are encouraged to embrace and celebrate differences, fostering a sense of unity.
The mission of the Junior ROTC is, “To motivate young people to be better citizens.” JROTC achieves this by providing volunteer opportunities for Cadets to participate in various ceremonies. These hands-on experiences allow them to embody the principles of discipline, teamwork, and service.
By engaging in community events and personal experiences such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration, JROTC not only fulfills its mission but also instills in its Cadets an understanding of the significance of social justice and equality. Through active participation, young Cadets gain a firsthand appreciation for the symbolism of the U.S. Army and the broader principles of citizenship. As the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. continues to inspire future generations, programs like JROTC play a vital role in shaping young minds and instilling values that extend far beyond the classroom.
Known for his many statements about racial inequality and his dreams of a better future, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once opined on character stating, “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” A large part of the Army-based training that is provided by programs such as the Junior ROTC is a focus on providing guidance to the young men and women who elect to attend the classes, choose to wear the military dress uniform, and volunteer for extra events and personal experiences such as the 43rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute. These are the young people today that will be the better citizens of tomorrow and through their efforts will move us closer to the dream expressed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and embraced by millions of people worldwide.