PCC Thanks American’s Military Veterans
WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College paid tribute to the nation’s military this week with the 26th Annual PCC Veterans Salute, featuring remarks from college personnel and Student Government Association President Jeremy Galang.
The ceremony took place Wednesday, outside of the Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement. A large American flag flew from a Winterville Fire Department ladder truck in the background, and a hulking MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle from Winterville’s Armed Force and Reserve Center sat nearby for attendees to explore.
PCC President Lawrence Rouse, the son of a Korean War veteran and father of a recently retired U.S. Army soldier, led off the program. He explained the Veterans Salute was Pitt’s way of thanking military members for their service and the sacrifices they and their families have made in defending the country.
“President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first ‘Veterans Day Proclamation’ in 1954 to ensure Americans would never forget what members of our military have contributed to preserve the freedom we enjoy each day,” Rouse said. “We can never thank them enough, but Pitt Community College will nevertheless continue holding its Veterans Salute each year to let the 19 million veterans in the United States today know just how much we appreciate them.”
After a drill team from South Central High School posted the colors, Galang spoke about his firsthand experience with the challenges veterans face. A University Transfer major, Galang was born in the Philippines but came to the United States a little more than a year ago from Singapore, where he served in the country’s navy.
“Through my experiences, I now hold a deep sense of gratitude for the sacrifices made by our veterans,” he said. “I understand the courage it takes to stand on the front lines and the physical and emotional toll it can exact. It has given me a profound appreciation for the men and women who have donned the uniform and dedicated themselves to protecting our way of life.”
Of the many obstacles military personnel must overcome, Galang said he found the most difficult part to be saying goodbye prior to deployment and being away from his family.
“The separations, the deployments, the challenges of military life — these are experiences that are shared by many service members and their loved ones,” he said. “It is a reminder of the profound dedication and the unwavering commitment to duty that characterizes military service.”
In addition to thanking veterans for defending the nation’s principles and “ensuring the torch of liberty continues to shine brightly,” Galang thanked the families of military veterans for their strength, resilience and support.
“You’ve faced sleepless nights, worried days, and the endless cycle of farewells and reunions, all with a courage that often goes unnoticed,” he said. “Behind every service member, there is a family standing firmly by them. Your sacrifices are as real as any, as your hearts have been equally devoted to the cause of defending our nation.”
Galang finished his remarks by encouraging citizens to recognize the sacrifices veterans make and ensure the services and support they need are readily available.
“Our veterans’ experiences remind us that freedom is not just an abstract concept; it is a tangible and precious gift that is secured through courage and sacrifice,” he said.