Haywood Community College’s students, faculty, and staff honored Veterans in a day-long celebration on November 10th. The day began with a flag raising ceremony by Pisgah High School JROTC and John Bradley, HCC’s webmaster, playing Reveille on the cornet. It was followed with a formal ceremony featuring many distinguished guests. To begin the ceremony, the 211th Military Police Color Guard presented colors and Sandy Killian sang the National Anthem. Two speakers shared their experiences in the military and what it means to be a veteran.

HCC Automotive Technology instructor and Cpl Darrell Honeycutt, addressed the crowd about the time he served in the Marine Corps. “The proudest day of my life was when I graduated from boot camp,” Honeycutt said. “I served seven months in Japan and when the day came that I was scheduled to come home, I was sent straight to Desert Storm.” He described the experience as culture shock. He said it was a great experience that he was proud to be able to do and one he will never forget.

With many students in attendance, Honeycutt related to them that because of the men and women serving in the military, we have a free life. “I know you have things to worry about like having gas to get to class and passing my class, but these soldiers have a lot more to worry about than you do. They worry about whether they will see tomorrow.”

Lt. Col. Retired Pete Armstrong defined a veteran- “We are a nation of patriots. Throughout history, we have always served to defend our rights.”

United States Congressman Heath Shuler presented a flag to Dr. Johnson and HCC. “On behalf of the US Congress, I present this flag to HCC. It flew over US Congress in honor of HCC’s Wall of Honor.”

Next, HCC’s Wall of Honor was unveiled. Tim Burke, 2009-10 Co-Chair of the HCC College Advisory Council and MSgt. (Retired), explained that the wall is the capstone project for the College Advisory Council. It was designed and constructed by HCC Professional Crafts Wood instructor Brian Wurst. HCC Machining instructor Dale Haddock and his students engraved the names of HCC students, faculty, staff, retirees, and alumni on plaques to honor those who have fought for our freedom. The wall is a unique way to display gratitude to those who have passed through the college doors and served our country. Names of veterans will be added to the Wall of Honor from now on.

Misty Guge, HCC’s Director of Financial Aid, read a poem to honor fallen soldiers and explained the meaning of the table set for them. After serving over 400 students, faculty, and staff for both lunch and dinner, there was an afternoon flag-lowering ceremony by Tuscola High School JROTC with Retreat played by John Bradley.

In addition to these activities, HCC Payroll Accountant Anita Peters led an effort on campus to collect cookies to send to a troop in Iraq. Along with many treats, the soldiers will receive cards and notes of thanks and encouragement from everyone at HCC. Over 127 pounds of cookies were collected. This is the second cookie drive Anita has initiated.

“This was such a glorious event to honor our veterans,” says HCC President Dr. Rose Johnson. “They are the very fabric of the United States. Because of them, we are free. It was equally as touching to note that the entire college family embraced this ceremony with love and respect. A special thanks to the HCC Foundation for a mini-grant to help fund the Wall of Honor.”