SHORT HILLS, NJ - It was a special Veteran's Day for some Glenwood first graders as well as for U.S. Navy Commander Jonathan Sym. He was invited to speak with Sara August's students yesterday to talk about America's military, the importance of Veteran's Day and the mission of the Navy.
"It was wonderful being in a room full of precocious and curious kids," said Commander Sym. "They really got it. I was surprised by the number of high level questions coming from just first graders".
The discussion revolved mostly about the various ships in the U.S. fleet, their capabilities and weapons but also about how to earn medals and get promoted.
Commander Sym got lots of smiles and laughter when he said "we have no bathrooms in the Navy". One child responded, "where do you poop?" He went on to say that the Navy calls a bathroom "the head". He talked about how the Navy has different names for things and the vocabulary unique to the sea service. "We don't have walls, we have bulkheads. We don't have hats, we have covers. We don't have floors, only decks." said Commander Sym as he continued to explain some more of the nuances in Navy-speak.
The afternoon ended with each child presenting Commander Sym with personal letters of thanks and gratitude. He said, "That is was the best part of my day".
Commander Sym is a Logistics Officer and has served in the U.S. Navy for 16 years. He is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and has deployed twice in his naval career. He is currently attached to Naval Operational Support Center, New York City and resides in Millburn, NJ with his wife and two children. He is also the Editor of TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills.