In 1994, when retired First Sgt. Richard Gogarty arrived at Francis Lewis High School in Queens to start an Army Junior R.O.T.C. program, only two staff members, one of them a custodian, would talk to him. The sergeant sat by himself in the teachers’ cafeteria, hoping someone would say something, even if it was just “please pass the salt.”
There’s a common misconception that JROTC programs exist solely to recruit impressionable young people into the services. In fact, it exists to teach character and citizenship to the students of America.
I and a couple of the commenters here all participated in Navy JROTC in high school together. And while we did learn a lot of customs and courtesy, and marching and such, we also learned about leadership and responsibility- lessons that have stood us in good stead ever since.