Veterans honored during program at CCMS
By Michael Howlett Staff Writer
Chief Warrant Officer Three Virgil Hill spoke of the sacrifice that both military personnel and their loved ones have to make to keep the United States safe and free during the Veteran’s Day Program at Carroll County Middle School on Nov. 11.
Hill opened his address by asking those assembled if they were familiar with the saying, “Duty, Honor, Country.”
“Those words ring as true today as they ever did. We don’t talk about it as much as we used to, as much as we need to, but to serve your country is an honor,” he said.
Hill knows about service. He joined the Virginia Army National Guard in 1985, attended Officers Training School in 1987 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1988. Hill went on to graduate flight training in 1989 and was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in 1990. Later that year, he was deployed for service in Operation Desert Storm as an aviation platoon leader. After being promoted to captain in 1996, Hill took a break from service.
Four years later, Hill rejoined the Virginia Army National Guard as a Chief Warrant Officer Two and in 2006 was deployed to Iraq where he flew a UH-60 Blackhawk in support of the 3rd Marine Corps Air Wing. Following his return to the U.S., Hill flew over 400 hours over a 10-month period in support of the U.S. Border Patrol on the Arizona border. In 2010, Hill was once again deployed to Iraq, where he regularly flew missions near the Iranian border.
Hill asked students to raise their hands if they had plans for after high school graduation. Most did, but Hill pointed out that sometimes plans have to be put on hold if it means defending the United States.
“I encourage you to dream, to aspire to bigger things, but imagine if the U.S. is attacked by a foreign power and our country needs hundreds of thousands of soldiers to protect it,” Hill told the students. “That where the words duty, honor, country come in.”
Fighting for the U.S. is a sacrifice millions of men have made, but it is not just the soldiers who have sacrificed, it is also their families and loved ones.
“Veterans have sacrificed, their loved ones have sacrificed. It has to be done now, as it was in the past and will be in the future,” said Hill. “America is not safe. The oceans aren’t big enough to protect us.”
Because of the sacrifices made by veterans and their loved ones, Hill said, “It is important to celebrate Veterans Day on this day (Nov. 11) each year.”
“Going back, knowing what I know, I would absolutely do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Hill of his service.
Hill went on to encourage students to be “responsible, law-abiding citizens and stay aware of current events.” He added, “If you see a veteran, thank him, he will appreciate it.”
Hill closed his address by saying, “God bless all of you and God bless the United States of America.”
The program opened with the Carroll County High School JROTC Color Guard presenting the colors. Following the playing of the “The Star Spangled Banner” and the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance, those on hand were welcomed by Carroll County Middle School Principal Marc Quesenberry.
The various veteran organizations were then recognized and the Carroll County Middle School Chorus sang “Song for the Unsung Hero.” Voice of Democracy winners R.J. Baber and Nicole Hiatt followed with readings of their essays.
After Hill spoke, a Flag Folding Ceremony was described and demonstrated. Following a moment of silence for fallen veterans and the playing of “Taps” by Robert Vernon, the colors were retired.
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