General Mark A. Milley '76, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, Speaks in Chapel
General Mark A. Milley '76, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, spoke to the boys in a special chapel on Tuesday, November 10, the day before Veterans Day.
The night before, General Milley was honored as an Alumni Award recipient during a special evening ceremony.
General Milley assumed duty as the 39th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army August 14, 2015 after most recently serving as the 21st Commander of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. A native of Winchester, Massachusetts, General Milley graduated from Belmont Hill School in 1976, and graduated and received his commission from Princeton University in 1980. He has had multiple command and staff positions in eight divisions and Special Forces throughout the last 35 years.
After a gracious introduction from his former hockey coach, Ken Martin '65, General Milley told the boys that when he came to Belmont Hill as a Third Former, he was somewhat intimidated. He recalled visiting a used clothing store with his mother to pick up a jacket and tie. He would come to love Belmont Hill, and reminded the boys of the unique opportunity their Belmont Hill education provides. He commended the faculty and said that while the boys' parents are the key influence in their lives, their teachers are second. "You have a second set of parents here," he explained. "They are deeply committed to you, they love you, and they want to help mold and shape you."
Reminding the boys that the world they live in today is fundamentally different than the world he grew up in, he urged them to consider what they will bring to this world. "What the world is going to look like in the next 25 to 30 years I'm not sure. But I am sure that you in this room are going to be leaders in that world." He explained the evolution of terrorism, the instability in the Middle East, the rising threat of Russia, and challenges in Asia, and urged the boys to consider what role they might play in the world. "You are not privileged by birth, you are privileged by merit," he stated. "Your seat at this school was earned, not by your mother or father, but by you."
General Milley went on to explain the many ways in which the boys can serve others. "Keep in mind your obligation to society, to others," he said. "There's so much more to life than making a buck. The greatest satisfaction any of you will ever get is in service to others."
He walked the boys through the vital characteristics of leadership: competence, commitment, courage, compassion, and character. "At the end of the day, in the dark of the night, when no one is around you and things aren't going well, it is your character that holds you together."
He closed by honoring Belmont Hill alumni who lost their lives in service to the country. "Reflect on how privileged we are as Americans to have the freedoms we have and never forget how we got them, who paid for them, and how they were bought."
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Belmont Hill School educates boys in mind, body, and spirit to develop men of good character. Our community encourages and challenges students to discover and pursue passions, seek excellence, and face adversity with resilience. We cultivate critical thinking and creativity, teamwork and competition, hard work and reflection, tradition and innovation. Valuing our differences and working together, we embrace camaraderie, compassion, and service to others. Our school strives to instill in each boy ethical judgment, a sense of common humanity, and a lifelong love of learning.