A veteran himself, retired Gen. J.R. Gorham took time Thursday to recognize the many veterans who are part of the Sampson Community College family.
Gorham was the guest speaker at a ceremony that honored local veterans.
“We are here today to celebrate what the veterans have done for this country,” Gorham said.
In all, 11 members of the Sampson Community College faculty and staff and 20 students were recognized for their service and dedication to the country. Sampson Community College’s Amanda Raynor called each name, and then offered a moment of silence for all veterans.
“To those who have fought for and continue to fight for the freedoms of our nation, the Student Government Association and the entire Sampson Community College staff would like to take this moment to honor you for your selfless service and say thank you,” Raynor shared.
Gorham, who is a native of Pitt County, retired after serving in the National Guard, and was the first African American general in the North Carolina branch.
“It’s not my goal to make this day as a celebration of victory, but as a celebration of those who made the victory possible,” the general added. “Our veterans chose to serve the cause that was greater than themselves.”
From World War I to the current war in Iraq and neighboring countries, Gorham recognized all the veterans from the different wars, who he said stood up against the chaotic world.
Speaking to those veterans in attendance, Gorham said he admired each of them for continuing to carry the torch and legacy.
“How beautiful are the shoulders of you veterans who sit here today,” Gorham stated.
Offering a salute with his right hand, Gorham acknowledged each of those at Thursday’s celebration.
“To all of you who wear the uniform or have worn the uniform, I salute you,” he said. “There is no amount of gratitude that can match the magnitude of your service to life.”
Growing up as the son of sharecropper, Gorham has written a book about growing up and learning how to be successful — the old fashioned way.
After offering words of encouragement for all the students at the local college, the retired serviceman had one final piece of advice given to him by his father that he shared with the audience.
“Great things happen when a father speaks into the lives of his children and they listen and obey,” Gorham said.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.