DUPLIN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Celebrations for those who've served our country will continue across the east as we approach Veterans Day on Saturday.
On Thursday, one community college held an inaugural ceremony recognizing the role of veterans in our civilian community.
The ceremony was all about thanking veterans and active duty military members for their countless sacrifices.
Many from the community who have served are now students at James Sprunt Community College, and they say education has been the key to a fulfilling life both in and out of uniform.
Representatives from all branches of service made an appearance. Some representatives were ROTC students, others were active duty, and many were veterans of past wartime.
The college says they decided to hold the event to not only recognize the veterans in the entire Duplin County community, but also the large number of students at the community college who are veterans, in the reserves, or National Guard.
Many tell WITN the associate programs at James Sprunt have given them a renewed sense of purpose in the civilian world.
"Even though I'm not in the military anymore, I still have a purpose in the community, I can still help, you know, my fellow people in some type of way," says Army veteran Danaya Beckwith.
Selene Rosales is in the Army National Guard. She says, "Right now, I'm in an Associates of Science and I'm planning to use my GI Bill for Bachelor of Science in Nursing."
The ceremony concluded with a special meal for both students and veterans.
It also included two veteran guest speakers who pursued education while in or after their time of service. They both encouraged all military members in the audience to never count out the possibility of earning a degree.
James Sprunt Community College says if you're a veteran or reservist seeking to explore your educational options, contact their Veterans Affairs Office.