- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Almost 70 years to the day, more than 800 military veterans, active duty servicemen, Navy League supporters, and interested members of the public gathered to commemorate the Battle of Midway last weekend in St. Augustine. This is the largest event of its kind to observe the anniversary of this important conflict during World War II.
As part of the festivities, US Naval Sea Cadets and Junior ROTC groups throughout North Central Florida and southern Georgia were invited to participate in an essay contest about the battle with prizes to be awarded at the dinner.
Cadet Cole Arnold of Manatee Division, penned his 700-word entry and then recorded the required YouTube video reciting his paper on board the US America Victory ship located at Channelside in Tampa. His hard work earned him a third place finish.
Arnold, who has been a history buff “his whole life”, was thrilled to meet veterans who were actually on the USS Yorktown (CV-5) and other ships that he learned about when doing his research. During the reception he was able to spend time one on one speaking with Woody Richmond who had to abandon ship during combat.
Winners were treated to a black tie dinner event, complete with a Navy band, a POW/MIA ceremony and a key note address from Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark Ferguson. The cadet was most impressed by “hearing all of the stories of the different prisoners and what they had to go through.”
Towards the end of the evening Ferguson personally presented Cole with his plaque and congratulated him for his efforts.
Looking forward to joining the Marines one day, the cadet’s parting thoughts in his essay reflect his love of country: “As generations change the unwavering and undaunted American spirit will not. Midway showed us that against all odds we prevailed and finished strong. Midway wasn’t just a battle but a statement of our strength.”