The Parham family military legacy began nearly 100 years ago.
Jonathan Parham is an officer in training at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Parham hopes to finish the legacy his great-grandfather started at Army.
“It’s the best experience. Every now and then I’ll look out to the window across the Hudson and think this is it, this is where I wanted to be since I can remember,” said Parham.
Parham was born to serve his country.
“I decided to come to West Point because I think it is my calling to be an officer. I think that there’s no greater challenge and no greater reward than them being an Army officer,” Parham said.
“Being in the military is been a dream of his since he was eight years old. That’s all he’s ever wanted to do, be a part of the military and serve,” said Mark Parham, Jonathan Parham’s father.
The call to defend runs in Jonathan Parham’s veins.
His grandfather, John Parham, is a retired Air Force colonel.
His great-grandfather, Alanzo Parham, was the first African-American to attend West Point in the 20th century.
“The fact that he’s following in my grandfather’s footsteps, his great-grandfather, and has an opportunity to finish what he started, it just can’t get better than that,” Mark Parham said.
Alanzo Parham never graduated from West Point.
He was discharged for academic deficiencies, fueled by his treatment from fellow officers in training.
That was 1929.
This is 2019.
Jonathan Parham is in his freshman year at Army.
He successfully compelted boot camp, joined the Army boxing team and is learning a new language.
“The boxing team is a great team. I happened to make it on the team of my freshman year so I’m really excited to challenge myself in that arena and pursue that. I’m taking Persian and I’m taking history and English, but I think Persian is really interesting to me because it’s a completely different culture, completely different alphabet. It’s starting from scratch and I think that’s kind of a blast to learn,” Jonathan Parham said.
He’s proudly wearing his uniform, representing West Point and representing his family.
“I think I reflect on the time that I talked with my grandfather about when he was at the academy and I just know that he’s looking down on his great-grandson with a beaming smile and pride knowing that he kind of started this and in some small way his great-grandson is working towards finishing it,” Mark Parham said.