Thomas F. Hall started his life as a poor boy from a small town in Oklahoma, but he rose to become an Assistant Secretary of Defense in Washington, D.C.
What happened in between was recounted by the two-star admiral, pilot and Vietnam War veteran before more than 50 students in the high school’s media center the afternoon of January 5. Most of them were Junior ROTC cadets.
His message: seemingly minor choices in one’s life can be the difference between life and death, or love and loss. He talked about some of the close calls he’s had while flying, but also how his decision to join the Navy led to his 48-year marriage.
“Every morning look in the mirror, stare at yourself and say, ‘What are my choices?’” Mr. Hall, 72, told the group. “And how can my choices make the difference between me living and dying.”
He repeated the mantra more than once during the hour-and-a-half encounter, which ended with a question-and-answer session that impressed the visitor.
“You guys have better questions than most of the adults I speak to,” said Mr. Hall, who now works as a consultant for a handful of companies.