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    Army Reserve birthday

    Photo By Valerie Resciniti | Army Reserve Soldiers celebrate the Army Reserve 106th birthday outside the NASDAQ...... read more read more



    Story by Valerie Resciniti 

    91st Training Division (Operations)

    NEW YORK - It’s not an anniversary, but it does happen to be a Tuesday morning on a mild, overcast day in the bustling streets of New York City; a day not unlike the way Sept. 11 began.

    Standing in the spot a tower once stood, Sgt. 1st Class Jason Manella, HHC, 351st Civil Affairs Command, reads the names of those who perished in the attacks.

    “Watching the trade towers fall was one of the main reasons I joined the Army,” he said.

    This is Manella’s first time in New York City.

    He stares into the reflecting pool that now replaces a building. Though he barely gets a moment to reflect - his uniform attracts a crowd.

    He stops to take pictures with tourists, and several of “New York’s Finest” NYPD members. Everyone wants to know who he is and why he is there.

    The short answer is Manella is in New York to help celebrate the April 23 Army Reserve 106th birthday. A more personal reason, he is at the 9-11 Memorial to see where his military journey began.

    “To be able to come out here and spend the Army Reserve birthday at Ground Zero, it comes full circle,” said Manella. “It’s very humbling.”

    When Manella enlisted at 17 he was barely qualified to join the Army, “I was almost underweight.”

    He pulls an old drivers license from his wallet, “This was me 70 pounds ago,” he said.

    Obviously proud of how far he’s come, the license serves as a reminder of where he started- a boy too young and nearly too frail to serve, but eager to help his country.

    Now ten years later, Manella stands on the hallowed ground that ignited his need to serve, not only a qualified, fit, Army Reserve Soldier and three-tour veteran, but the Army’s 2013 Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.

    “The person I’ve become is completely thankful to the military,” he said.

    Manella continued his tour across the street from the 9-11 Memorial to Fire house “Engine 10.” The firefighters of “Ladder 10” were among the first responders to the 9-11 attacks. The five men killed here provided Manella with a face.

    “It’s a reminder that the civilian law enforcement and firefighters sacrificed just as much,” said Manella.

    While the 9-11 Memorial visit added a sobering reflection to the trip, Manella’s New York adventure was not without high points.

    As the Army’s NCO of the year, and a guest of Lt. Gen Jeffery Talley, Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General, Manella attended several events in celebration of the Reserve’s birthday. He was honored during a Mets game as the “Veteran of the Game,” and received a team-signed jersey and stadium flag after the 3rd inning. He also got the best seats in the house to watch the game.

    “The atmosphere and the great view- I don’t know if I’ll ever have that again,” said Manella. “I’m very thankful to the Mets for their support of the military.”

    Manella appeared with Talley as a guest on the Fox News morning show “Fox and Friends” where Talley highlighted Manella’s accomplishment as the first Reserve Soldier in history to win the Army’s “NCO of the Year” title.

    “It’s an honor to be able to represent the Army Reserve in front of the entire Army and nation, and prove what we’re truly capable of,” said Manella.

    The Fox appearance ended with a birthday cake-cutting with the hosts.

    During an Army Reserve Birthday celebration at the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Talley again recognized the accomplishments of Manella.

    “Sgt. Manella is a real example of what the Army Reserve is all about,” said Talley. “Dedication, determination, discipline, perseverance, motivation, and mission- these are the attributes of the men and women of the Army Reserve, and sergeant Manella has those in spades.”

    The Army Reserve birthday celebration ended with a trip to the NASDAQ center to participate in the Closing Bell Ceremony. The event was another tangible reminder of why Army Reserve Soldiers are needed to help protect America’s economy.

    “It was neat seeing the heart of New York’s financial operation,” said Manella.

    Manella along with a group of fellow Army Reserve Soldiers stood in front of the NASDAQ marquee as an animated birthday cake flashed across the screen, “Happy Birthday Army Reserve.”

    “It’s been a great opportunity to not only celebrate, but remember why I serve,” said Manella. “It’s another reminder of why I still put the uniform on every day.”



    Date Taken: 05.01.2014
    Date Posted: 05.01.2014 17:08
    Story ID: 128452
    Location: MANHATTAN, NY, US 

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