WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Kamerun LaBrier, 16, will represent the White Plains chapter of the Young Marines when he joins 67 other members from across the nation Dec. 7 in the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Honolulu.
The Young Marines is a nonprofit youth education and service program that promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle for boys and girls age 8 through the completion of high school by teaching the values of leadership, teamwork and self-discipline. There are more than 300 units with 10,000 youths in 46 states and several other countries.
“The fact that I was selected for this trip is proof to me that great opportunities do come along if you work hard and show dedication,” LaBrier said in a press release. During his trip he will get a chance to meet family members for the first time who live in Honolulu. “I feel incredibly honored to have been chosen.”
LaBrier is a corporal in the White Plains Young Marines, which has about 30 members and meets every Friday during the school year in White Plains. He was chosen because he has advanced quickly through the ranks since joining in 2009 and has shown dedication and initiative, said Iris Davis, an adult volunteer who has acted as the chapter’s administrative assistant for 15 years, according to the press release.
On Nov. 12 Kamerun helped the Yorktown Police Department deliver relief supplies to Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. They handed out supplies door to door and served hot food to victims of the storm.
LaBrier, who hopes to have a career in the Marine Corps, will help lead the parade and carry the banners of the 12 capital ships that were attacked, a press release said. The day before the parade, the 68 Young Marines will perform a wreath-laying ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific to honor those interred there.
“Touring Pearl Harbor's museums and memorials, along with participating in Pearl Harbor Day activities, is something I'm really looking forward to and realize is possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity,” LaBrier said in the release. “I will always cherish this experience.”
This will be the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the USS Arizona memorial site.
“Undoubtedly, the Young Marines will meet some of the survivors of that historic event of 71 years ago,” said Michael Kessler, national executive director of the Young Marines. “Those veterans are, in every sense of the words, living history, and each has a story to tell. It is an honor to attend an event that commemorates a significant turning point in our nation’s history.”
When LaBrier comes face to face with those veterans, he said, he will feel “as if I'm looking into the eyes of someone I want to become.”