A group of local veterans marked Pearl Harbor Day with a trip to the State Capitol. House District 11 Veterans Day at the Capitol is an annual event hosted by Representative Barbara Massey Reece and sponsored by AT&T and Pfizer.
The group attended the ceremonial lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree conducted by Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Governor and Mrs. Deal. After the ceremony, which featured music by The Atlanta Boys Choir, the veterans visited with the Governor and Mrs. Sandra Deal. They attended a reception in the South Rotunda and toured the House Chamber.
A luncheon was held in the Floyd Building. The group was greeted and welcomed by Dan Holtz, Assistant Commissioner in the Department of Veterans Service. Mr. Holtz is a retired Colonel with the US Air Force. Fred Daniels, a Veterans Benefit Counselor with the department, also spoke with the veterans.
The keynote speaker was Colonel Mark McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. Colonel McDonough graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. While deployed to Bahrain, he flew 35 combat missions in support of Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm. He began his career in Public Safety in 1995 with the Georgia State Patrol.
In the afternoon, the group traveled across town to the GBI Headquarters. They were briefed by agents on DNA, fingerprints, ballistics, and high profile cases. They also toured the morgue.
According to Rep. Reece, "Of the 773,900 veterans in Georgia, 10,000 reside in Floyd and Chattooga counties. Veterans in these two counties receive over $19 and 1/2 Million in benefits each year. Our Department of Veterans Service is dedicated to providing help for those who have served and sacrificed so much for the freedoms our citizens enjoy. Veterans Day at the Capitol is a small way to thank those who served. Since this trip began, over 500 veterans have enjoyed a special day at the State Capitol."