Follow This Man! This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


     I'm an amateur radio operator and have beeninvolved in public service events since I was 12. Usually we arestationed at key places to provide communications and help coordinateevents.

I'd done the annual Memorial Day Parade twice and didn'tanticipate any problems this time. The parade was split into a dozenelements, each with a marshal and volunteer communicator. My element wasthe only one without a marshal, and I was told just to do my best. Alittle nervous, but determined to do well, I set about my task.

My first challenge was two rival band directors. They'd beenplaced next to each other and, as one put it, "Any fool can seewe'll drown each other out, so move them!" It was getting prettyheated, with the two balding directors shouting at each other as theirbands giggled. Acting quickly, because the parade had already startedand the shouting was attracting attention, I inserted a group ofShriners between the two bands. Satisfied with the new order, I calledthe grandstand to tell them about the change. They radio-ed back,"Good job" and asked where the 77th New York regiment was. Ididn't know, and they told me to find them - fast.

I ran downthe streets, looking for a group in uniform. Finally, I saw a column ofmen in fatigues, bayonets ready, regimental colors flapping in thebreeze, marching in the wrong direction. I didn't have any time to lose;we had only minutes before my element was to pull out. I ran to thegrim-faced officer at the head of the column. "Sir," I said,looking up, and up. "You're going the wrong way. We need you atEagle Street right now."

He looked down at me, a smiletwitching on his stern face. "All right, men, on the double,"he commanded. "Follow this man, he knows the way." I've neverfelt as proud, or scared, as when I led that column up the hill. Ilearned a lot about self-confidence and courage that day. I learned Ican face a frightening situation and make it through as long as Ibelieve in myself. I'll never forget that moment.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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