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On November 9, the Norfolk Academy Military Appreciation Club continued a tradition of paying tribute to our nation's military in the lead up to Veterans Day, welcoming Nick Rahall and his wife Anne as guest speakers for Upper School Chapel.

A teacher-coach at NA, Mr. Rahall is a former U.S. Marine Corps officer who served numerous assignments, including in war zones in Afghanistan. Lieutenant Commander Rahall is a Naval Surface Warfare Specialist whose assignments included Commanding Officer of the USS Gladiator.

The Rahalls, who both attended the U.S. Naval Academy, spoke about how they entered military service. They were typical students growing up, interested in sports and teenage life, but also helping others. When the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, Mr. Rahall was in ninth grade and the tragedy fundamentally changed his life, spurring him to act on his desire to help.

“It took an idea I had and made it something I felt every day," he said.

Military members face many challenges, the Rahalls said. Families are separated for long stretches. Rates of homelessness, unemployment, and suicide are high after their service is complete.

The Rahalls called upon students to use this day off - NA did not hold classes on November 10 in observation of Veterans Day - and long weekend as an opportunity for gratitude. Say thank you to service members. Participate in a fundraiser or volunteer event. And consider careers of service - not just in the military but in professions like the medical field that help the military.

During their Chapel, Middle School students heard from Dr. Marion Constantinides, a military veteran who has specialty training in combat and emergency medicine. Dr. Constantinides now is at Axis Medical Center in Virginia Beach, whose work includes helping military service members and others suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. (That work is scheduled to be highlighted on the Discovery Channel in 2024).

In addition to teaching about PTSD and challenges of military life, Dr. Constantinides encouraged students to thank service members and remind them that they are a valuable part of our community.

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