When Florida State holds Military Appreciation Day on Saturday, there will be fitting tributes for men and women who have served as well as recognition of active service members and FSU students who have served.
Those moments will hold special significance for FSU snapper James Rosenberry Jr. His dad, James Sr., served in the military for two decades, including tours in Desert Storm and Afghanistan, as a paratrooper and is a retired Lt. Col. His mom, Brenda, enlisted in the National Guard (she passed away from cancer in recent years).
Rosenberry will take the field for Saturday’s game against NC State and wear the garnet and gold, but the red, white and blue will be represented, too. Inside his hand warmer will be his dad’s U.S. flag that he took to Desert Storm along with a name tag and a souvenir from a deployment to Afghanistan.
“Our family history goes probably two to three generations back in military service,” Rosenberry said. “So there’s a lot of pride on my dad’s side and my mom’s side for serving this country. We see it as a big backbone of this great country. So they take utmost pride in what they did.”
Rosenberry spoke with the Osceola this week about his family’s service, his transfer from Maryland to FSU and his plans as an entrepreneur:
FSU will honor military service members on Saturday. Beyond the moment where we thank those who are in active and retired military, what should we remember about their contributions to our country?
Rosenberry: At the end of the day, we’re not going to be able to grasp the full scope of what they’ve done for us. But what we should be aware of, and feel great respect and admiration for, would have to be the sacrifice not only for their time, the blood, sweat and tears of their effort, but their unrelenting, driving aspirations to keep this country and every single one of its citizens safe, and to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, however necessary.
What do you recall about growing up in a military family?
Rosenberry: My dad was active duty with the Army engineers. He was stationed in Fort Bragg. I was pretty young. So I couldn’t, during their service, be that prideful because I didn’t really know what was going on. I was less than 5 years old. Growing up, roughly around 7 or 8, when I started figuring out what our family was really about, we were in Ohio at that point, but I definitely took my lineage and what they did with a great amount of respect. And, honestly, it shaped my future and my goals to, ‘OK, I want to hold up the family lineage at this point, and make sure that they can be proud.’
What types of stories or themes about military service did your parents share about being enlisted?
Rosenberry: Growing up, there were many, many stories of the different things that they did overseas or maybe in different missions. I wouldn’t get too much detail, but it would be more so the stories of brotherhood, camaraderie and the emphasis that they put on having each other’s back. I’m not gonna sit here and say that football is anywhere near as important as serving the country. The responsibilities for them are much greater, and forms a tight-knit brotherhood that we’re never going to be able to understand. But I think part of the question, to tie back to football in general, there’s definitely a brotherhood that can be found everywhere. And that importance of camaraderie and everything, that definitely put a deep loyalty towards friends, family, those who have helped me. Loyalty became a really big part of my life, shaped me going forward. One of those things is help those who help you and understand if they don’t, they’re not with you, and they don’t deserve loyalty.
When you left Maryland as a grad transfer, what went into your decision to pick FSU?
Rosenberry: I had just entered my last semester in the spring of my undergrad for finance. And I realized, ‘OK, I’m going to finish up my spring, I’m going to graduate, and I can go pretty much anywhere at that point because I will be grad student.’ And my process my thought process on that was ‘OK, schools don’t have to keep me around. But I’m a grad student with three years under my belt in college, I’m a nationally recognized snapper through multiple different programs. I feel like I have skills to fit a resume. So going somewhere where I feel that it’s a good program, good fit for me was the best way to best way to go.’ So with that being said, on the football side, I remember my first start was under Coach JP (John Papuchis) at Maryland. So he moved down to FSU under Mike Norvell, who we all know has a great track record of bringing programs and lifting them up. So when I was in that process of looking for a place to go, that was one of my first things. Within the first week, I reached out to JP, asked if he had an opening, just because I know we worked well in the past. And it was more of a reach out, hope it would work and it ended up going well.
What are you studying and what are your goals after football?
Rosenberry: I am pursuing my masters in hospitality. It’s the masters of entrepreneurship at the Jim Moran School. I’m very, very excited. It’s a relatively new program. But it’s definitely targeted at what I want to do in the future. So growing up, I’m from Midwest, there’s this pizza chain called Donatos. And when I was at Maryland, I crafted a business plan to open up a location in Maryland. And I’m looking to do this one of the business plans down here in Florida as well. But I want to become an entrepreneur in the future. And starting with that as a foundation and that plan, I want to use the skills learned through the hospitality side of this entrepreneurship program and take that to possibly open that up in the future when I can gain enough the funds.