JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Hundreds of thousands of members of our military are deployed all across the planet, but over this past Memorial Day weekend, thousands of them had a chance to relax and celebrate.
Fleet Week is an annual celebration of the Navy in New York City and in this week's Stories of Service we catch up with a sailor from Jacksonville who was able to join in on the fun.
Whether it's a blast from a cannon as a ship is coming in or a band playing in Times Square, Fleet Week is a party, and at the center of it all is Ensign Jaliya Wilson.
"It has been truly amazing being around the other sailors," said Wilson. "Whether it's different nationalities, different ranks, different rates, it's truly an amazing experience, I'm just soaking it all in."
Wilson is closing in on two years in the Navy, but she started down this path of service in the ROTC program at the former Robert E. Lee High School (currently Riverside High) in Jacksonville, where she had good role models.
"Their leadership and them driving me to go to college, led me to the Navy ROTC unit at FAMU and I also went to Florida State, that entire pipeline led me to the Navy and I'm happy with this course," said Wilson, who serves on the USS Wasp, which is based out of Norfolk, VA.
"My sailors are in charge of fixing all of the equipment such as the radar and communications gear on the USS Wasp," said Wilson.
Wilson's journey is something she's grateful for, nonetheless having that shared appreciation be shared with a cornerstone of her family.
"Hey mom, I made it, I'm in New York," said Wilson. "I'm so thankful for you all back home, you make me so happy, I'm proud to serve you all!"
If you have an idea for a Story of Service that you would like us to share, please let us know about it by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.