PRC High School honors veterans
On the eve of Veteran’s Day, Pearl River Central High School’s NJROTC held their annual ceremony honoring community veterans as well as those missing or departed.
The event was held at the football stadium, where students, faculty, community members and veterans gathered to pay tribute to America’s heroes.
Cadet Ensign Megan Jarrell served as master of ceremonies.
“This Veteran’s Day we give special thanks to those who served freedom’s cause,” Jarrell said. “We salute the members of our armed forces who are confronting our adversaries abroad; and we honor the men and women who left America’s shores but did not live to be thanked as veterans.”
The Color Guard conducted the parade of colors as the “National Emblem March” played.
Each of the five military branches was honored at the event with the presentation of the service colors and song. Audience members who served or are serving were asked to stand when their branch’s anthem was played.
Prisoners of War and those servicemen missing in action were honored and remembered.
A ceremonial firing salute by the Sons of Confederate Veterans Seven Stars Artillery Battery was fired in recognition of POW and those who are MIA.
The cadets also demonstrated the proper format for folding the American flag.
This year’s guest speaker was Maj. Gen. Hudson Holliday, United States Army National Guard retired.
Hudson spoke of an America that would not exist were it not for this country’s veterans.
“Our founding fathers had great ideas about how a country ought to be and they put those into words on paper, but they were only words,” Holliday said. “But it was our veterans, starting with the minutemen, through their blood, sweat, tears, service, sacrifice and suffering, they put life into those words.”
Holliday told students and audience members that there is no better way to thank veterans than to work to better America and keep the country strong.
“You’re never too young or old to serve,” Holliday said. “It begins here, be a good student. Be somebody that will make this country stronger. Be a giver, not a taker.”
PRC JROTC Senior Naval Instructor Colonel Todd Ryder said he was very pleased with the cadets’ performance.
“They have grown so much in their ability to present this ceremony,” Ryder said. “Their proficiency and attitude is just really great.”
This past weekend the group participated in the Gulf Coast Veteran’s Day parade day in Biloxi.
The cadets will present the service colors at today’s “Fallen Soldier Battle Cross” monument dedication in front of Picayune City Hall at 11 a.m., Ryder said, as well as participate in this evening’s parade beginning at 6 p.m. on Goodyear Boulevard.
With tears in his eyes, Vietnam Veteran Elroy Seals spoke of how much he loved the program.
“It was very emotional and my grandson was one of the JRTOC students out on the field,” Seals said.
Seals served in the United States Army for seven years and nine months and spent 1968 through 1969 in Vietnam.
“Being in Vietnam was a like an ordinary job, except some nights they threw rockets at you,” Seals said. “I’d do it all over again if I had to. Today’s presentation was a great way to honor the people that give you your way of life.”