This past Monday, millions of Americans gathered in remembrance of the fallen soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defending this nation’s freedoms.

This past Monday, millions of Americans gathered in remembrance of the fallen soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defending this nation’s freedoms.

Some remember by lowering the flag in front of their businesses or homes, while others see the fallen soldiers as a motivator to do their part in helping defend this nation.

Brayden Bryant, Ardmore, and Trace Stewart, Marietta, have answered Uncle Sam’s call, and will be attending military academies to continue their education and sports careers.

Bryant, who will be going to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs will be the first member of his family to join the military. The decision to join was made easy for Bryant after making a trip to the school.

“I am going there to play football and, speaking athletically, they were one of the first people that actually believed in me,” Bryant said. “Me and my mom went out there last June for football camp and it just felt like home. I like to consider myself a very disciplined person and that is something they are.”

Besides getting to continue his football career, Bryant is excited for what the future holds by being in the Air Force. To Bryant, being set up in the future for he and his family is another reason why this was a no-brainer decision for him.

“It was not just a football move,” Bryant said. “It wasn’t a four-year decision, it was a 40-year decision.”

After his football career is done, Bryant will be enlisted for at least five years in the Air Force as an officer. Making a difference in his country makes Bryant proud to serve.

“I want to make a difference and help as many people as I can,” Bryant said. “I want to help veterans with PTSD or have received trauma from battle. Really, I just want to help people and the military is a really good way for me to do that.”

Bryant said he will be majoring in behavioral science while in school.

Stewart was a multi-sport athlete while playing for the Indians, but has chosen to play baseball for the Naval Academy Prep School this fall. The Naval Academy Prep School is the fourth oldest school for the Navy, only the Naval Academy, Naval War College and Naval Post Graduate School are older.

“I have always wanted to go to the military but I didn’t always want to enlist because I wanted to go to college,” Stewart said. “We had a kid go to the Naval Academy two years ago from Marietta, and I thought that sounded like a good option.”

Stewart comes from a military family, having a cousin in the Air Force and two cousins graduating from the Naval Academy.

Choosing the military school route was an easy choice for Stewart because of the opportunity to become an officer after graduation. Stewart wants to major in aviation, where he hopes he can one day fly planes.

Being able to continue his education while serving his country means a lot to Stewart, and he is thankful for the opportunity.

“It will be an honor to serve, there have been so many people who have sacrificed their lives for me to be able to serve in the military,” Stewart said. “I don’t really know how to describe how my feelings are, I am grateful for everybody who served before me.”