PRCC observes Veterans Day

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  Col. Mark Prine looks at Mount Rushmore and sees the faces of America’s best.
  “I see four gentlemen who placed their lives on hold,” he said. “They were citizen soldiers.”
  Prine, deputy commander of the Mississippi National Guard’s 184th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, was guest speaker for the annual Veterans Day program Tuesday, Nov. 11, at the Forrest County Center of Pearl River Community College.
  The four presidents carved into the stone of Mount Rushmore illustrate the American tradition of the citizen soldier, he said.
  George Washington served in the British militia and the Virginia militia before commanding the Revolutionary Army.
  “He continues to be the most senior officer in the American military, by act of Congress,” Prine said.
  Thomas Jefferson resigned his commission as a colonel in the Virginia militia to help write the Declaration of Independence, and Abraham Lincoln’s brief service in the Illinois militia helped him to understand how much he didn’t know about military matters during the Civil War, he said.
  Theodore Roosevelt served as assistant Navy secretary, used his influence to become a colonel in the New York National Guard and went west to raise cavalry troops for the Army.
  “TR would take his troops into Cuba,” Prine said. “This would launch his career that led to the White House.
  “They did what the American service people do today – they put their lives on hold, serve and come back home.”
  Prine also is an adjunct history instructor at the Forrest County Center and advisor for the Presbyterian Christian High School Color Guard, which presented the colors. PCHS student Meredith Mitchell sang the national anthem.
  PRCC has held the designation of a Military Friendly School for a number of years and the Forrest County Center also hosted an informal breakfast for students, faculty and staff who are veterans.
  The events are more than symbolic, said Army veteran and PRCC student Freddie Smith of Hattiesburg.
  “It meant a lot,” he said. “It touched me – so many people coming up and hugging me.”
  Smith, 54, had to take a medical discharge from the Army after 13 years when he “tore up” his ankle at Airborne school, he said. He is finishing his third semester at PRCC and expects to graduate in the spring before transferring to the University of Southern Mississippi.


Col. Mark Prine talks about the role of citizen soldiers during the Veterans Day program at the Forrest County Center of Pearl River Community College.
PRCC Public Relations photo

Lynnessa Best, an Army veteran of Desert Storm, reads her poem “American” during the PRCC Forrest County Center Veterans Day program.
PRCC Public Relations photo

The Pearl River Community College Spirit of the River marches in the Hattiesburg Veterans Day parade on Tuesday, Nov. 11.
PRCC Public Relations photo