be dressed ready for service.

several days ago, as i stepped off the bus, i heard someone quickly say, “thank you for your service.”
it caught me off guard; i didn’t even get a chance to look who even said it. never the less, the kind words were appreciated.

on the same day, the students from JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) wore their uniforms for the first time. because of this, i was able to spot those as soon as they walked down the hall. at first i complimented about how ‘fresh’ (clean cut) they looked. then i told them that while in their uniform, they need to be responsible. this means arriving on time to school, being respectful during the lesson, and being prepared for classes. they represent JROTC as an organization. as i was relaying this to the students, it reminded me of my own uniform.

as a city year corps member, i and the other thousands of corps member all over the country follow this uniform:
we wear all black shoes or Timberlands.
we wear fresh pressed khaki pants.
we wear a black belt.
our city year white polos or dress shirts are tucked in.
we wear our lanyards around our neck. our nametags are pinned on our right.
in addition to all this, in los angeles, we wear yellow vest or bombers.

without my uniform, people can’t identity my cause right away. when i wear my yellow jacket, especially among my fellow corps members, we make a scene. last week, we had a training in downtown LA. we moved from pershing square to deton auditorium which are several blocks from each other. people kept coming up to us on the streets asking what it was all about. it’s true what they say: there is power in numbers.

a particular uniform has a certain reputation. when one wears it, he or she agrees to adhere to expectations and uphold the prestige.  wearing a uniform is more than just who you represent, but how you represent. being dressed for ready service means equipping yourself for anything that comes your way. it’s about preparing for the certainty that everyday will be unknown.

so before we begin our day, we ask: are we ready, are we ready?


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