• 79°

MHS honors veterans

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Maplesville High School honored veterans in the area during a presentation on Nov. 8.

Each veteran present was called by name, the branch they served in and their years of service were mentioned.

Guest Speaker Phillip Morris said November 11 was chosen for Veterans Day to commemorate the end of World War I.

Morris said his grandfather was a cook in the Army in France during the war.

“He was still over there when that war ended,” Morris said.

He said the students in the audience “had not known of a peaceful time” since Sept. 11, 2001.

During the MHS Veterans Day observance, veterans sat on the first two rows of the center section.

“At some point in time, they made the decision to sign their name, take an oath of office that said I will go wherever you want to send me, I will do whatever you want me to do for whatever time I’m supposed to do it,” Morris said. “That is not something you can take lightly when you make a decision that says I will go, I will fight, I will do whatever is necessary to defend the American way of life. We have it good here y’all just think about the freedoms we have that other people don’t enjoy.”

Morris joined the Alabama Army National Guard in Tuscaloosa in 1970, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Morris was sent to Louisiana for training. After three years, he decided to pursue becoming an officer. In total, Morris served 28 years with the Army National Guard and Guard Reserve.

“It was a good career,” Morris said. “The best time was being a company commander. I enjoyed that. I was the first non-doctor commander of a medical clearing station, part of the 31st Armored Brigade.”

Morris said he had been in Berlin with the Army National Guard in May 1988, several months before the Berlin Wall came down.

“In that time, there was a huge divide between where the Americans were and the Russians or the East Germans had some type of village,” Morris said.

Morris said two months before he was serving there, the East German or Soviet guards had killed two people attempting to cross the “no man’s land.”

“Those two people were desiring the freedoms that each of us enjoy because of (veterans),” Morris said.

He said not everyone can serve in the military, however, “each of us can make the decision to be a good citizen.”

Morris said this includes being involved in the community and helping others.

Students were encouraged to always remember the sacrifices that others made, so that they could enjoy the freedoms that they do. Students were urged to vote when they were old enough to.

Morris also reminded men 18 and older that they were required to sign up for the selective service, although he said he hoped the draft would never be used again. Morris said his father had been drafted and was a service tech for the military in the Pacific.

“He never would talk about it,” Morris said.

When Morris was in college, the draft was being used again.

He said he remembers watching draft numbers being drawn. His number was not called.

To this day, he remembers the draft numbers of he and his two brothers.

He encouraged those who had ever thought about joining the military to seriously consider any of the branches.