This blog post is part of a series saluting our graduating scholars. As we celebrate their impact on America’s future during Military Appreciation Month, today we’re featuring a post written by one of our scholars, Meagan Noreen Burns, a graduating senior at Old Dominion University from Levittown, New York.
The traditions and disciplines that my father learned during his service in the Marine Corps played a major role in my upbringing. From learning the Marine Corps values of honor, courage and commitment at a young age, to implementing these values and understanding why my father chose to serve this country, I developed a deep respect and appreciation for the armed forces.
Following my father’s service in the Marine Corps, my father joined the New York City Fire Department. As a child, I watched my father give himself selflessly to our community during September 11, 2001, when he served for the New York City fire department. Over the years, I began to admire my father for his commitment to serve others. His willingness to sacrifice his life for this country, for his home and for his community helped me to decide what I wanted to do at a very young age. I knew I wanted to emulate his values – I wanted to give back, serve others and be someone else’s hero. My father is my hero, my father is our community’s hero, my father is our nation’s hero, and he is the reason I chose to attend Old Dominion University and join the University’s Marine Corps ROTC.
My college experience hasn’t mirrored that of a typical college student, and I wouldn’t be true to myself or my fellow ROTC students if I said that balancing schoolwork and ROTC came with ease. Throughout my college career I faced various challenges. I would not have overcome any of the obstacles I faced if it weren’t for my brave ROTC family who endured them with me and the unwavering support of my wife, who is a Marine Corps Veteran. My wife and ROTC filled my four years at Old Dominion with the same joy, discipline, and tradition that my father instilled in me as a child.
The support of the Marine Corps Scholarship foundation also played a big role in my college experience. My scholarship allowed me to attend my college of choice, without having to worry about the financial burdens that many of my peers often face. I was fortunate to receive the Foundation’s Day Scholarship, which paired me with a mentor who shared similar goals, values and encouraged me to pursue my dream of enlisting in the Marine Corps.
I was recently commissioned as an Officer for the United States Marine Corps, and I am thankful for the endless support from my family, my wife, ROTC and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. Serving as an Officer is one of the greatest things I have accomplished, and I am proud to say that that I have followed my father’s footsteps, and I will serve alongside the few, but proud men and women who serve our country. I am ready to embark on this journey, and I am excited to see what I can offer the world and what the world will offer me.