The Valor Within: A Tribute to U.S. Veterans
Posted on 11/13/2023
We often associate the term “heroes” with those who wear capes, but in the real world, many heroes wear uniforms. Perhaps the most honorable uniform is that of the United States military.

We recently observed Veterans Day to extend our deepest gratitude to the heroes who stared fear in the face in the name of protecting our nation’s values.

From the U.S. Army to the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard and National Guard, every veteran has a unique story. Some ensured operations ran smoothly, some faced the horrors of war stationed in remote corners of the world, and many have physical and emotional scars. Yet, they all share a common love for preserving the freedoms we often take for granted.

It is not just the actions of our veterans that inspire us; it is also their humility, preferring to stand in the shadows rather than the spotlight. It is our duty to ensure they receive the recognition they deserve.

One heroine we’re proud to highlight has a deep passion for public service that guided her from the battlefield to the classroom. Meet Danitza Hill (pictured), former United States Air Force intelligence officer, current STEM teacher at Altura Elementary School. Hill was inspired to join the Air Force to walk in the footsteps of her father, who served in the Navy, and her grandfather, who served in the Army Air Corps.

“I wanted to keep the family tradition,” she said. But that’s not the only legacy Hill upholds.

“I also come from a family of teachers,” said Hill. “I was already majoring in education when I decided to join the Air Force ROTC program at Northern Arizona University. I’m happy to experience both careers and remain in the field of public service.”

When asked what special memory stands out from her time in the military, Hill shared the Christmas Day she rode shotgun in a Chevy Camaro chase car to vector directions for a U-2 spy plane to land safely. Due to the plane’s long wingspan, landing a U-2 is no easy task.

“It was fun going from 0-120 mph so quickly on the taxiway following the U-2 on its landing,” she said. “It was a great way to spend the holiday!”

We’re not sure what’s more exciting – chasing an iconic high-altitude surveillance plane on Christmas or enjoying the holiday breaks teachers so truly deserve. Either way, we hope Hill is forever honored for her commitment to freedom and education.

We must never forget the heroes among us. May we offer our gratitude not just in words, but in actions, not just on Veterans Day, but every day.