Small Town Values March In Washington, D.C.
SISTERSVILLE — A boy, who grew up in small town America, proudly marched in a parade at the recent inauguration for President Donald Trump.
Anthony Bolton, a member of his platoon’s Navy ceremonial drill team, marched spit and polish in formation to pay homage to the nation and the new president.
“I was in the marching element for the pass and review for President Trump,” he said. “It was a great honor to be doing something as that. It’s a great honor to be doing the job I do.”
Drill and marching in formation takes discipline, dedication to perfection and timing.
“We all were very hyped and ready to do this,” Bolton said. “We trained for a few months everyday to get this down perfect so we would look good in the eyes of the public. We are in the ceremonial guard so we get to do this kind of stuff a lot. Which is one of the perks of this job. We perform ceremonial duties all over. My mood was happy, excited, scared, nervous, and honored. I want to thank everyone in Tyler county for the support and appreciation for the troops.”
Members of the Drill Team are experts in the art of close-order drill, coordination, and timing, according to the Navy. Sailors wield the M14 rifle, which weighs about 10 pounds, when they perform at a variety of events, including local and national holiday and armed forces observances, schools, universities, conventions, and Navy related events.
To march in cadence with perfect timing in front of a crowd of thousands including the new president might be enough to make almost any sailor a little sea sick, but Bolton held it together like the square knot needed to tie down the main sail on a windjammer.
“What was going through my head was the fact that I was nervous,” said Bolton, 21, who joined the Navy in April 2016. “I didn’t want to mess up or something tragic to happen to my shipmates, civilians, or myself. There was a lot of protest and riots going on. So I think that was the thing I had going through my head the most.”
Bolton’s grandparents, Marsha and James Dotson, hail from Alma.
“I’m one proud gramma!” she said. “Anthony and all the sailors warms my heart.”
Bolton’s mother, Angie Bolton, added, “I was so proud, I was in tears. How could you not be proud. I did watch it on television, but I couldn’t see him I just knew he was there.”
The American Legion Auxiliary Tyler County Unit #48 chose to “adopt” Bolton and his older brother Donnie who serves in the Navy aboard the U.S.S. Constitution.
During the Christmas season, the two Navy veterans received a box with their favorite team shirts, many homemade goodies, Christmas cards colored by Pre-K students at A.I. Boreman Elementary School and other assorted gifts.
“Anthony, his brother Donnie and all our veterans represent the best of best of America,” said Cathy Post, president of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit #48. “Small towns are closer knit communities. We all help each other. My sons were in the Navy. People wrote to them and sent care packages. That means so much to our heroes so far away from home, especially in times like we have now.”
Bolton said he was very happy to receive the care package.
“It was so awesome,” he said. “I about cried. It’s good to see people still support our country.”
Angie and her husband Marty Bolton, who have been married 26 years, raised their family of in the tiny town of Newell in Hancock County. A middle child, Bolton has three sisters and two brothers.
When Anthony Bolton was about 12 years old, the family moved to North Jackson, Ohio which is about 10 miles from Warren, Ohio.
Family is a big factor in Bolton’s life and another reason he and his brother Donnie stepped up to serve in the Navy.
“I think we all played a big part in who he is as a person,” Angie Bolton said. “As far as me and his dad and siblings. We’re all very close, always have been. Its been hard and stressful having them both away.”
High school sports was a factor in forging Anthony Bolton into the man who would someday enlist in the Navy.
That tall and skinny sailor was a defensive lineman back in the day for Western Reserve High School in Berlin Center Ohio.
“They helped give me strength and build me up to be a man,” he said.
As with any athlete, there are plays that are forever etched into memory.
“It was the 3rd counter against McDonald,” he said. “We were tied up at the 10-yard line. We needed to block the field goal attempt. My brother and I were on the defensive end positions and managed to both get into the backfield and I blocked it and my brother ran it back for a touchdown. The play was the one that is burned into my head.”
Marsha Dotson has a picturesque view of the hills from where she sits in a rocking chair on her front porch in Alma a small town about 45 minutes from Clarksburg, W.Va.
Her grandson Anthony has visited the place often and a glossy framed 12-inch by 14-inch picture of him hangs on the den wall beside other family pictures. Dotson said she is still beaming with pride about her grandson’s career plans that led to chance to be where history was being made.
“I was a little worried at first when he joined the Navy, but then he became a man over night,” she said “And I do respect the choices hes made!”
Family is the mainstay of this sailor’s life.
“I do draw strength from my family,” Bolton said. “Growing up with the family It definitely shaped me into the man I am today. My family supported every choice I made even if they didn’t agree to it. My parents always taught me to do what feels right, signing the papers to join the greatest fighting force in the world definitely felt right.”