Remembering our veterans



Mr. Jim Proudfit, veteran from the Marine Corps, and Mr. Tim O'Neal, captain in Afghanistan, smile for a picture before they speak about patriotism.

The United States has three holidays for the people who served their country in the military. Memorial Day, for those who have passed, Labor Day for those in action now, and Veteran’s Day for those who have retired. On November 11, Veteran’s Day was celebrated, providing an opportunity for Americans to thank Veterans, whether they’ve been retired for a couple of days or for many years.

This year, Trinity High School held a Veteran’s Day assembly and two people attended to share their experience in the Armed Forces. Even though their serving times ranged from four to twenty years, both had invaluable information to share. 

The first speaker was Mr. Tim O’Neal, a state representative, who served as a Captain in Afghanistan. He was proud to say that there were roughly nine hundred thousand veterans in Pennsylvania alone. He expressed that without their service, he wouldn’t know where this country would be today.

 O’Neal believes the rights of freedoms are fragile. Everyone is duty-bound to be respectful of future, present and past veterans. He added that veterans are by far the most loyal people and take the most pride in this country because they have dedicated their lives to the people’s freedom. He believes that Americans have the duty to not only say  “thank you for your service,” but also honor all lives and the rights all Veterans defended, by writing letters to local newspapers, being proud to be free, and by being great Americans. 

O’Neal felt honored to speak at Trinity High School and hopes that there are future veterans that come from the school. 

The second speaker, Mr. Jim Proudfit, was in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. Proudfit mentioned that more people protested this war instead of actually volunteering to fight in it. At that time there were draft cards that people burned in protest and people refused to fight for their country.

He mentioned his wife of fifty-three years and explained that she was as much of a veteran as he is because they were married the whole time he was serving. As a result, she had to do most parenting of their two children alone. 

According to Proudfit, that was as much work as serving in the military, not only because she took care of their children, but also because Mrs. Proudfit flew to various areas for him to meet his sons.

Proudfit and his friends went to Vietnam in 1967, and still meet at least every two years for a reunion to honor the forty-seven men in his troop who were killed and one hundred seventy-five were injured. At the reunion, a bell is rung and a list of all the vets who passed while overseas is read.

While state representative Tim O’Neal and Mr. Proudfit were welcomed to speak to share their experiences and the importance of Veteran’s Day, there are countless more veterans in Pennsylvania to be recognized.

Mr. Arthur J. Carlberg, Jr., now living in Venetia, PA, and a graduate of Chartiers Valley high school, was in the Air Force for four years. He served from June 1963 until 1967 and was deployed in Germany and Taiwan. 

Carlberg chose to serve in the Air Force because he felt he belonged in that specific branch. He would not change his serving time because he wanted to go to college and have a family.

 When asked if he could serve in any other war, he’d deploy in World War II because it was a great success for America and his father served in that war.

 He wants everyone to know that the Air Force is a great alternative to college; especially if a person doesn’t want to go to college or doesn’t know what to do with his or her life.

Another veteran, Mr. Joe Bali, a graduate of Meriville High School, currently lives in Washington, PA, was also in the Air Force as well and served for about 20 years, from August 1994 until September 2014. He was stationed in Haiti, Saudia Arabia, Qatar, Iraq and Korea. He feels proud he served because he was a part of something bigger than himself and he got to see and do things that he wouldn’t have done if he didn’t serve. 

 If he could choose any war to serve in, he’d choose World War II as well because the world was united under a common cause for the benefit of the world. 

Bali’s favorite part of Veteran’s Day is seeing all the flags prominently displayed, but it also makes him mournful because he lost some friends while serving. 

Currently, Bali wanted to add that he currently works in the Federal building in downtown Pittsburgh, the building is where the military entrance processing center is. Before citizens join the military and leave for boot camp they have to go through this center.

Bali said, “It warms my heart to see them [new military recruits] getting ready to serve our country, especially in this day and age.” 

Veterans chose to serve this country, to risk their lives for America’s freedom. It would be greatly appreciated by all Veterans if they were thanked for their service.