Central High School’s Veterans Day Ceremony welcomed the school’s Lt. Colonel Carleton Hirschel, Senior Aerospace Science Instructor and Air Force JROTC instructor, delivered a lively and at times emotional keynote address for the school’s Veterans Day ceremony attended by local veterans and assembled students.
“Today we come to honor and recognize American service members past and present,” Hirschel said. “Today, Veterans Day is the celebration to honor all American veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. It’s a day for reflection and remembering.”
He said that the power of America’s military comes not from technology and firepower, but from the spirit of those who serve.
“It’s not the missiles, rockets, airplanes … and cybertechnology systems that make us the most advanced. The true strength of our military is the spirit and skill of our soldiers, sailors, airman, marines and Coast Guardsmen,” he said.
“In every generation … brave Americans have stepped forward to serve honorably in the armed forces of the United States. Every one of them deserves the admiration of our entire country. Today it’s our privilege to say thank you to all of American’s veterans for their quiet courage and exemplary service,” Hirschel said.
Among a list of Tennessee veterans that included Alvin York, Hirschel delivered an emotional account of Sgt. Jeremy Griffin who was killed in Sept. 15, 2019 in Afghanistan at age 41.
“These are but a few personal illustrations of military service demands and the commitment that it provides to us.”
He called all service members in uniform part of a long line of achievement and honor.
“Those who continue this legacy should never be taken for granted,” he said.
Principal Paul Parsley said the school is extremely proud to have Hirschel as part of the faculty.
He added that Hirschel served 28 years in the Air Force, commanded units in South Dakota, Arkansas, Wyoming and Alamogordo N.M. and served in Kuwait, Iraq and led college-level officer training program, chaired South Dakota State University’s Aerospace Studies where he was a full professor.
The veterans program also included a presentation of awards to students for their contribution to the Veterans Association’ Sept. 11 ceremony and performances by the school band, choir and the JROTC.
Following the ceremony, the school's culinary club served veterans a free lunch.