He may be only 17, but Staples High School senior Sean Gallagher knows what he wants to do with his life: He wants to serve his country, just like his grandfather did.
"Like many kids in his generation, my grandfather served in World War II. He was a navigator in the 8th Air Force ... and later was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross," Sean said in his address at the annual Veterans Day ceremony at Town Hall on Thursday. "It was handed down to my father and now sits in my room as a trinket of inspiration."
Sean, who is enrolled to attend the U.S. Naval Academy next year, said his grandfather never spoke of the war and never "forced others to acknowledge his accomplishments or give him praise."
Instead, his grandfather was "merely serving his duty as an American." And for Sean, that's what makes all veterans special.
Although Sean was inspired by his grandfather's service and attitude, he said he is influenced by all men and women in the armed forces. And that's why he made his choice.
"Attending Staples High School has given me the opportunity to become anything I desire to be. However, the only plans I have after high school at this time is to serve in the armed forces," said Sean, co-captain of the soccer team . "I have not earned the amazing life I have been given: Men and women who have served in the past have earned it for me. And I wish to repay the country that has given me this life."
Upon graduation from college, Sean said he hopes to become an officer in the Navy or Marine Corps.
"My country has given me a life full of freedoms unearned," Sean said. "I wish to honor those who have served before me by giving back to the country that has given me so much."
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