Although military service to the nation is the central honor commemorated on Veterans' Day, the guest speaker at Adams Central's annual observance on Friday spoke to students about engaging in any type of public service as a higher calling of citizenship.
Retired U.S. Navy lieutenant-commander Cameron Collier of Decatur, a graduate of AC and the naval academy, told a large audience, primarily students, "What makes one able to say he or she lived a life full of pride and satisfaction? Being able to say, 'I served.'
"What does it mean to be a servant? Doesn't this mean giving of ourselves, our time, our money, our talents, our energy, and perhaps even our lives?
"I am not limiting myself to military service. In truth, few of your lives will take that path, though I certainly encourage you to seriously consider it. There are opportunities to serve all around you: neighbor, friend, classmate, teammate, church, any volunteer organization, etc."
Collier, whose latest service will be as a member of the Decatur City Council, to which he was elected last week, mentioned the most well-known quotation from President John Kennedy's inaugural address: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
He added, "As you consider what path to take, don't spend all of your time trying to figure out how you may benefit from others. In the end, you will be left wanting. Instead, strive to see how you may be a benefit to others. Through service, you can find fulfillment and joy, as veterans know."
He continued, "So, students of Adams Central, what are you doing to serve? I challenge you, whatever your life's path may be, endeavor to live a life of service. It will be more fulfilling than you can possibly imagine. Will it be tough? Absolutely. Will it, at times, be uncomfortable? Certainly.
"Ask any of the veterans here today: 'Was it worth it?' Perhaps the greatest 'thank you' that you could give to the veterans here would be to endeavor to live a life of service."