HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – On this perhaps busiest shopping day of the year, the Holyoke Mall played host to a ceremony enlisting soldiers in the U.S. Army.
The 14 newest members of the United States Army, 13 men and one woman from western Massachusetts took their oath in the mall’s Military Honor Court amid the swirl of thousands of shoppers.
Many of the shoppers stopped to show their respect for the ceremony they were witnessing.
For Jana Coddle of Feeding Hills, the swearing-in was particularly moving, as her son was among the 14 army recruits.
“I feel proud of my son, Nigel, for him to take this step. He has plans he has goals, and I’m very proud of him at this moment,” Coddle told 22News.
Not many weeks ago, the Holyoke Mall after consultations with Holyoke Soldiers Home Superintendent Bennett Walsh, has established a flag-draped military court of honor.
Then came the request for the military enlistment ceremony at the mall from the Army. Holyoke Mall Business Developer James Geraghty was all too happy to accept the request.
Geraghty told 22News, “It was exciting I said yes, come, they did, we’re very excited here at the Holyoke mall the whole team.”
Many of the thousands of shoppers were privileged as well as surprised to witness this army enlistment ceremony at the Military Honor Court.
Military recruiter Captain Calvin Johnson can’t recall ever swearing-in enlistees at a shopping mall.
“It starts at the baseline, all the privileges that we do enjoy, it takes a certain individual to serve so, it’s great for our country,” said Capt. Johnson.
A proud day for 14 young men and a woman, now members of the U.S. Army during an enlistment ceremony viewed by many of their fellow citizens.