Pentagon personnel brought over 8,000 of their children to work today, in the annual “Bring a Child to Work Day,” an event celebrated across America.

Public service is a good option for today’s youth after graduation, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks told thousands of kids and their parents who had gathered in the courtyard, where multiple entertainment booths and displays were set up. 

The Defense Department is one of the largest employers in the nation, and as such, offers a wide range of employment — from writing policy or computer algorithms to handling military working dogs, flying aircraft or even becoming an astronaut, she said. 

“We hear so many stories about you, and we can’t help but be proud of you,” she said, referring to the children. 

“As a parent myself, I can say with confidence that you and your generation are going to change the world,” she said. 

Parents here today are especially excited to show their children where they work and what they do and the positive impact they have in making the world a safer place and protecting America’s freedom, she said. 

Hicks also thanked the parents for the love and support of their children. 

One of the highlights of the day was a mock media briefing in the press briefing room, where Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder took questions from the children. 

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to speak with our young guests about the important role of a free and independent press, and DOD’s responsibility to ensure our fellow citizens have access to timely, accurate information about our nation’s military,” Ryder said. 

Every year when the Pentagon hosts these briefings, the children ask excellent and insightful questions, and this year was definitely no exception, he said. 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of them ultimately become journalists and come back to the Pentagon someday as full-fledged members of the Pentagon press corps,” he added. 

“While there’s a natural inclination to attribute the power and strength of today’s U.S. military to the incredible technology and machines within our inventory, the reality is that our people are the decisive factor and our most important asset,” Ryder said. 

“Bring a Child to Work Day” affords an opportunity for the department to show the children the vital work their loved ones do daily throughout the U.S. military, defending the nation, he said. 

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