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PCC Thanks All Who Have Served Militarily

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College paid tribute to the nation’s military on Veterans Day with the annual Veterans Salute, featuring Marvin Williams, District First Sergeant for the N.C. State Highway Patrol, as the keynote speaker.

Williams, who is also a U.S. Marine Corps colonel with service in several overseas military operations, is currently Camp Lejeune’s Director for Security and Emergency Services.

In his remarks, Williams said the country’s armed services are comprised of “ordinary people who do extraordinary things” to preserve freedom. He noted their dedication to serving the country and their willingness throughout history to endure hardships, be it missing the births of their children, avoiding improvised explosive devices or exposure to Agent Orange.

From defeating communism to protecting the country throughout the Cold War to fighting terrorists, “America owes our veterans a debt she can never repay,” Williams said.

This year’s Veterans Salute also included a special historical flag presentation by several members of the National Sojourners Camp Lejeune Chapter 329. Dressed in period costumes, they displayed the various flags that have flown over the United States and gave an overview of each.

“The character of a flag is identified by those who serve under it,” said Lt. Col. Rob Sortino, a member of the National Sojourners who served with the Marines during the Vietnam War. “… We cannot rest on the sacrifices made by previous generations. It is the duty of every generation to defend the United States at all times.”

Special music for the 2011 Veterans Salute was provided by Nicole Robinson, who sang the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and Jeff Ramey, a PCC instructor and Navy veteran. The college’s Elements of Praise gospel choir also performed.

PCC President G. Dennis Massey said Pitt holds the annual Veterans Salute as a way to thank veterans for their service. He said the college currently serves approximately 500 veterans and their dependants and was recently listed as a military-friendly institution by militarycollegeonline.org.

“That’s quite an honor,” he said. “We were one of very few in North Carolina to receive that distinction.”