The Paoli Junior-Senior High School held its annual Veterans Day Program on Nov. 11. The event is organized by PHS teacher Chris Lindley and his Advanced U.S. History students. This year’s program featured speaker Sgt. 1st Class Lance Murphy, U.S. Army (Ret). He served 22 years in the military and serves as an instructor in military science in the ROTC for the University of Southern Indiana.
“I think my life is pretty dull, however I think some would disagree with me,” said Murphy. He said he has jumped out of airplanes and helicopters and served in combat. He has two college degrees and “all the aches and pains that go along with 22 years in the military.” He has a wife and three adult children. He has been stationed stateside and Germany and has been deployed in Bosnia, Kuwait and Afghanistan.
Murphy talked about what a veteran is and said they are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. For Murphy, he did not give a lot of thought into being a service member. He did not go to college out of high school. It wasn’t that he did not want to, but he did not know what he wanted to do after high school. His parents suggested joining the military.
In the military, he and others were trained, equipped and sent off to war. Some came back home, and some did not. He made lifelong friends and they stay in contact with each other.
“To be a veteran is to be a select group of people,” said Murphy. Not everyone can join the military. Some do not want to and some want to but cannot. Whatever the case may be, that is why they wear the uniform. They made an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution.
“When I think about being a veteran, I think about St. Crispin’s Day Speech,” said Murphy. He then read the speech from William Shakespeare’s history play “Henry V” where Henry V of England rallies his men on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt where they were vastly outnumbered by the enemy. The speech includes the famous lines “We few, we happy, we band of brothers; / For he to-day that sheds his blood with me / Shall be my brother.”
The Pride of Paoli presented the colors and PHS Student Council President Emma McCrary led the Pledge of Allegiance. The PHS Faculty Singers sang the National Anthem.
Lara Brace gave a reading about the History of Veterans Day.
Lindley and his Advanced U.S. History students introduced the U.S. Armed Force guests and asked the audience to stand if they had a family member currently serving.
Adin Monroe read the article “What a Veteran Knows.” It was written by Joe Carter, former Gunnery Sergeant in the U.S. Marines.
PHS Choir member Mary Cook sang “America the Beautiful.”
The Advanced U.S. History students and Lindley introduced and recognized the veterans in attendance. Lindley stated this is his favorite part of the program each year. Lindley would also that 2021 is also the 100-year anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.
The Pride of Paoli then performed Salute to the Armed Forces, a medley of each military branch’s song.
Cora Austin read “No, Freedom Isn’t Free.”
Pride of Paoli Director Christian Karkosky commented on the history of “Taps” before it was performed. The program closed with the Pride of Paoli retreating the colors.
This article originally appeared on The Times-Mail: U.S. Army Sgt Lance Murphy speaks at PHS Veterans Day Program