At CNE, veterans
share the honor of service
By Dick Maloney
Kenneth Hubers talked about the 10,000 soldiers killed in
the six hours between the signing of the World War I armistice and the official
cessation of hostilities.
Brian Bailey was grateful for one who wasn’t.
They were two of the four men who spoke to Clermont
Northeastern High School students Nov. 9 as the school observed Veterans Day.
Standing in front of flags representing the four branches of
service, Sgt. First Class Bailey, an Army cavalry scout and recruiter and a
1998 graduate of Batavia High School, quickly and solemnly put the day in
perspective, talking about the fortunes that allowed him to be there – to
“My great-grandfather was in the
trenches on Armistice Day, during the armistice, and, he was a machine gunner
in the American trenches, and when they blew the whistle and they announced the
armistice, the troops came out of the trenches and they crossed no man’s land,
and they were greeting the German soldiers and what not, and a German soldier
came up to my great grandfather and he said, ‘Are you the person behind this
particular gun at this particular spot?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, how did you know
that?’ ‘Because I was a German sniper and I had you in my sights, but we knew
the armistice had been signed and that’s why I didn’t shoot.”
The armistice was agreed to at 5 a.m.
Paris time Nov. 11, 1919, but would not go into effect until 11 a.m. (11th
hour of the 11th day of the 11th month).
“Between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m., 10,900 men
were killed. For political value, they didn’t end the war until 11 o’clock,”
Hubers said, then taking a long pause. The 1975 Milford High School graduate,
U.S. Navy retired (CPO), is commander of the Southwest Ohio VFW Memorial Team,
which buries about 150 veterans a year.
Hubers served 24 years, but early in his tour wondered if he
first got into the service, for everybody it’s a shock, because you know you
have experience military service to experience military service. Went to my
first duty, it was on an aircraft carrier, and it was hard, dirty work,
extremely dangerous on the deck of an aircraft carrier because of everything
that’s going on. A lot of ways to get hurt or even killed or even blown over
the side, and I talked to my more senior people, my mentors, cohorts, so to
speak, and I asked them, tell them more or less my second thoughts, and one of
the gentlemen looked at me and said, ‘There’s less honorable ways to die.’ And
that has just stuck with me for the last 40 years, and that’s true, there’s
less honorable ways to die than in the service of your country,” he said.
graduate Seth Page was a U.S. Army sergeant, serving until 2015. He directed
his message specifically to “students like him” in the crowd.
that I appreciate everybody coming out, especially the ones that are locked in
and listening, and taking everything to heart, and then I said thanks to the
ones who are here just because they’re happy to get out of class, because I’m
speaking to you, because I am you. That was me. I was the one yawning. I
probably had headphones on in the bleachers instead of listening, I would just
be off in my own world, doing my own thing, and would probably pull bits and
pieces out of it, so if I can let them know, ‘Hey, this is the message for
you,’ maybe it would sink in a little deeper,” Page said.
military, Page said, gave him purpose.
them to know that ultimately high isn’t something that defines you, because I
was the kid, I was most immature, I didn’t have any goals, I didn’t have any
ambition. As I said in my statement, I was just here existing and I didn’t have
any intent or purpose for my life. I think the one thing I wanted them to
understand is it’s never too late to turn that around and find meaning in your
life, to find purpose, and then to work toward that, intently,” he said.
now lives in Colerain Township, is a full-time student at Mount St. Joseph
University, pursuing a bachelor’s, and then master’s, degree in special
journeyed from Catlettsburg, Kentucky, almost 125 miles from CNE, for the ceremony.
An Army Specialist Fourth Class, Miller was stationed in the Demilitarized Zone
in Korea from 1958 to 1959. His message was one of appreciation and respect for
of the things, it was such an honor to serve in the military. Especially I was
in Korea right after the conflict and it was just a life experience for me and
I feel honored to be able to serve my country. I feel my country has given me
so much and offered so much, and also it’s just a small price to pay, I
believe, to serve in the military. I know today our young men are going into
conflict and harm’s way, and I appreciate what they do. I appreciate their
devotion to the country and to God, and it’s just an awesome responsibility and
an awesome privilege,” Miller said.
remembered how Vietnam veterans, in particular, were treated when they returned
“It was so
depressing. I mean, I had served in the military, this has occurred after my
time, and it was just an embarrassing time in our nation that we treated those
folks so poorly. I mean, it was so bad, that many of the guys that I’ve known
would take their uniforms off, after they arrived on American soil, defending
our country, because of the embarrassment, because of the attacks they had on
them, people spit on them and cursed them, and it was just a dark day in our
society and I’m so glad that we’re past that.”
speakers agreed that attitudes toward servicemen and servicewomen have changed
for the better.
positive. It’s very positive. I looked at the faces. I probably got more
attention than I gave when I was in high school when we had assemblies like
this,” Hubers said.
is the recruiter for CNE, noted that Clermont County’s strong military roots
are one for the reasons for that shift.
“I think it
depends on the area you’re in. If you’re up in Vermont or California or
something, you may have a different experience, depending on where you’re at,
but at least around here, people are respectful and they’re very patriotic, and
either they want to serve or if they don’t want to serve, they’re at least very
supportive of the idea of serving,” he said.
Mike Tabor, a Purple Heart teacher who served two deployments outside of Iraq,
helped organize the school’s ceremony, confirmed Bailey’s observations.
would say so. Clermont County definitely produces a lot of people for the
military, sends a lot of people to the military. Batavia, our ZIP code,
actually sends the most our Southwest Ohio, so there’s definitely a connection
between our school and Batavia in general and the military,” Tabor said.
four speakers, the ceremony was not so much about being thanked, as it was
about thanking those in attendance.
before you to thank you for allowing me the privilege to serve you for 24
years,” Hubers said.
for thinking well of military people,” Miller said. “It really is something
that we need to respect.”
CNE, in partnership with the community, will provide
students with the skills and exploratory experiences that enable them to reach
their fullest potential. To accomplish this, the CNE staff will:
• Strive to make children confident and creative builders of
• Research, design, and provide the best academic program
and learning environment possible for students.
Schools in the CNE District include Clermont Northeastern
High School, Clermont Northeastern Middle School, Clermont Northeastern
Elementary School and Clermont Northeastern Preschool.