CCCC conducts Veterans Day Ceremony
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Central Carolina Community College Computer Information Technology Instructor Richard Biggs was guest ... (more)
SANFORD - Local military veterans were honored Wednesday (11/11/2020) during the 2020 Veterans Day Ceremony at Central Carolina Community College, an annual "thank you" to members of the college community who have served their country in the United States armed forces.
Though the ceremony largely followed tradition, things looked different this year with the pandemic forcing observers onto Facebook Live and rain shifting the ceremony from the college flagpole to a space just inside the Dennis A. Wicker Civic & Conference Center.
Still, even with accommodations to the unusual circumstances, the message remained as focused as ever: Veterans are important to the nation and valuable members of the college community.
Guest speaker Richard Biggs made the point by giving several brief examples of inspiring veterans he has met over 12 years as a computer information technology instructor at the college. Biggs is a veteran himself, a retired Master Sergeant who served in the U.S. Air Force for 22 years as a flight engineer, including overseas in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm during the Persian Gulf War.
Biggs recalled meeting one veteran in particular, Joey, who was waiting for class in a wheelchair after losing both legs and one hand during an explosion while serving in Iraq. At some point after the two became friends, Biggs asked Joey about his rehabilitation. There were other veterans who were far worse off, Joey told him, and it was all they could do to get up in the morning and open their eyes. So, Joey wanted to be released so he could return home and begin recuperation with his family.
He had the most positive attitude of anyone Biggs had ever met. "The man said he had to force the military doctors to release him from rehab," he recalled. "That's the kind of man he was."
Earlier in the ceremony, CCCC Vice President and Chief Academic Officer Brian Merritt expressed gratitude to the large number of veterans associated with the college -- including many faculty and staff that students may not know have served in the armed forces. To make the point, he read a short list of about 15 names before saying there were many more.
"We owe you our freedom," Merritt told them all. "We owe you our deepest respect."
The ceremony concluded with a surprise presentation. CCCC's Veterans Upward Bound Director Matthew Thewes presented a certificate of excellence to Biggs, who plans to retire this spring, for his service to CCCC's veteran community. Thewes organized the 20-minute ceremony.
The 2020 CCCC Veterans Day Ceremony is available on the college Facebook page at facebook.com/iamcccc/videos.
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