A lot of the parts used to build those mighty military machines on display during Marine Week are made in Cleveland.
CLEVELAND - Numerous "mini" Marines have been spotted throughout the streets of downtown Cleveland during Marine Week 2012. The boys and girls, ranging from 8 to 18 years old, are dressed in fatigues or camouflage uniforms. You might notice a group of them under a tent near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Voinovich Park. All week, they are volunteering to help visitors locate names of the fallen along the replica wall.
More than 100 Young Marines are part of an official youth program at the Marine Corps Reserve Center in Brook Park. It is comparable to a Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts program, which promotes mental, moral and physical development of young Americans.
"I joined because I needed more discipline. I felt bad because of all of the trouble I was giving people, talking back and stuff," said 10-year-old Alexander Nystrom, of Parma.
"I used to get bullied a lot in school. Once I became a Young Marine, I earned more respect from my peers," explained 12-year-old Zakarie Baldwin, of Brooklyn.
Young Marines learn to be good citizens by performing 50 hours of community service each year. Upon completion, they earn annual promotions. Participants also earn ribbons by getting involved at their school, joining sports teams, playing musical instruments, taking CPR courses, etc.
"I joined because I wanted to go to new places and meet new people," said Cody Yerich, 14, of Eastlake.
Adult volunteers with the Greater Cleveland Young Marines program are on a mission to nurture and develop members into responsible citizens who live healthy, drug-free and gang-free lifestyles.
"We give guidance and supervision to the kids and teach them to be young role models," said William Taylor, a retired Marine who volunteers in the Young Marines' community service outreach program.
The program often inspires youth to join the Marine Corps when they come of age.
"My uncle encourages me to be a Marine like him," said Joseph Alcantara, 12, of Parma. "I want to be a Marine when I grow up."
The traveling Vietnam Memorial, a replica of the permanent memorial in Washington, D.C., is in Cleveland during Marine Week, where U.S. Marines exhibit is under way showing manpower and military machinery.
The Marine Corps has taken Cleveland and Brook Park's youth under its wings during Marine Week.
The Marine Week Cleveland mural, which was painted by six Marines, was unveiled on Friday morning at the Cleveland Water Collection on East 55th Street and Carnegie Avenue.
The Ohio Flags of Honor memorial, featuring more than 400 full-sized flags, is on display in Cleveland's Voinovich Park throughout Marine Week.
Saturday and Sunday, the U.S. Marines put on a show that dazzled spectators.
Marines demonstrate their canines' capabilities in Cleveland's Public Square during Marine Week 2012.
Rain or shine, honorary Honor Guards are protecting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall at Voinovich Park in Cleveland throughout Marine Week.
The Cleveland safety forces beat the Marines in a Wednesday night game of flag football at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Visitors pouring-in to see Marines may help Cleveland's economic future.