Retired Military Personnel Shares Story with Student Body
Photo Credit: Cassie Smith

With each passing day, their sacrifices and battles fought on distant shores, reminds us of the countless lives lost, injured or mentally scarred. They are soldiers active or inactive who fought for our freedom and the land we call home.

Students gathered in the auditorium to listen to 30-years retired military officer Dr. Harry Hobbs talk about the importance of Veterans Day and respecting those who fought for our country.

“I want to make sure that y’all got the message so that you could be respectful and even if you don’t go into the military be a good citizen,” Hobbs said. “If you live in America you should be the best you could be. I always understand that I am standing on the shoulders of my forefathers and I want to be respectful by giving my best at all times.”

Hobbs decided to go into the military at the age of 17, but it all started when his grandmother enrolled him into Boy Scouts where they instilled him into community service.

“I excelled in that,” Hobbs said. “I am a person of color, just a couple hundred years ago we could not do this. I have the ability within a military framework to do well in poverty and I heard about the military. They could feed me and help me if I ever decided to have a family. So I joined the military. I enjoyed the structure and needed the structure to do well.”

Soldiers going into war see many things, positive or negative. Before deciding if the war is for you, you need to figure out the negatives and the positives, Hobbs says.

“Way the cost because of their positives and negatives. You could go to war and lose your life, that’s understood, but also you could walk across the street and lose your life. So, for folks that are looking for  structure, looking to belong, fair pay and the ability to raise, the military could be the answer.

Teacher Erin Coggins coordinated the assembly. She met Hobbs while interviewing him about his book, “A Flawed Man In God’s Hands.” 

“When I met Dr. Hobbs and heard his story, I knew he was the perfect fit for our guest speaker,” Coggins said. “He is animated as a speaker and used to talking to teens. But what sold him to me was how his story of pulling himself out of poverty, fighting racism and serving bravely would resonate with our student body.”

For Hobbs faith is important to him–it was the only way for him to survive.

“I knew that was the way I would survive. Faith in God through his son Jesus because I had already experienced a relationship with Jesus. I knew he had the power to help me do my best and survive. It gave me comfort to know that I had someone to talk to, to calm me down in combat. I led 63 men and women. I was the leader. I had to keep it together,” Hobbs said. “My faith grounds me to keep it together.”

Hobbs says that the lack of knowing veterans personally, or they may hear the media saying it with negative connotation, could contribute to the lack of respect towards veterans.

“Lack of knowledge. Lack of our country doing a better job at communicating what our military does,” Hobbs said. “It is an honor. When I was your age I had someone talk to me and they were like I am. They were passionate and they just wanted to make sure I had the message.”

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