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veteran, entrepreneur asks bethune-bowman students to live up to values that made military, nation strong

Times & Democrat - 11/12/2018

Nov. 12--Lt. Col. (Ret.) Wayne Murphy, a veteran, businessman and community servant, Friday asked students at Bethune-Bowman Middle High School to not just remember and honor veterans on Veterans Day, but to live by the same principles they practiced in helping defend the ideals and safety of this nation.

Murphy, a St. Matthews native who owns the Orangeburg Chick-fil-A, served more than two decades in the United States Army.

His key assignments included the U.S. Army Special Operations command and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.

Murphy was the keynote speaker at the school's Veteran's Day Program held in the Melvin L. Crum Gymnasium.

He said the service of the nation's veterans have helped form the bedrock of the country's values and security, noting there were 26.3 million living military veterans in the U.S., with 16.1 million of them having served during at least one war and 2 million of them being female.

"The price (of freedom) is not yet paid in full," Murphy said, adding that the thousands of service members all around the world protecting America were still on the job.

"We made a commitment to our nation ... . They will be there when we're sleeping tonight," he said, listing loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, love of country, integrity and personal courage among the values that everyone should live by whether they are military service members or not.

"These are the values that made our military and our nation strong. I challenge each of you to live up to these values ... . You can start right now," Murphy said.

He added, "God didn't put us here for us. God put us here for others ... . Let us not forget in years to come that freedom is not free."

Murphy's military awards include the Legion of Merit Medal and the Bronze Star Medal, but he encouraged the students to serve their communities right where they are through service in clubs and other organizations that promote service to something other than themselves.

He said the students could serve by expanding their education after high school whether it be through a college or university, or a trade school to become a skilled professional.

"It's important to understand your purpose," and at the same time, reflect upon the sacrifices and commitments of veterans who have helped make freedom possible, Murphy said.

"Freedom doesn't just happen," he said.

Murphy was presented a certificate of appreciation at the ceremony, which also included the recognition of two African-American Medal of Honor recipients.

U.S. Army Sgt. William Harvey Carney, one of those remembered, was a black soldier during the American Civil War who was born a slave. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1900 for his gallantry in saving the regimental colors during the Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863.

Also remembered was 1st Lt. John Fox, who was killed in action when he deliberately called artillery fire on his own position after it was overrun by the enemy. By sacrificing himself, he succeeded in defeating a German attack in northern Italy during World War II. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1997 for willingly sacrificing his life.

LTC (Ret) Brian Cole Sr., who serves as the senior Army ROTC instructor at Bethune-Bowman, said it was important for the students to remember the history of their service.

"I just want them to understand the importance that African-Americans played in all our conflicts. Having Col. Murphy, who is basically a success story, come back and talk to the students about the things that it takes to be successful in life is also very important," Cole said.

"I hope they take away a lot of values that he talked about, including leadership, duty, honor, respect, take those things back and make them a part of their lives to help them be successful as they go through high school, college and on."

Malasia Middleton, a 14-year-old 10th grader, said she appreciated how Murphy outlined a recipe for success regardless of what path she and other students take in life. She said it was good to hear that a person can serve their country by just having good character.

"I feel like he was speaking the truth because you can serve your country whether you're in the military or not," she said. "You're still supposed to do the right thing."

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Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow "Good News with Gleaton" on Twitter @DionneTandD.

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