Veterans from Chattooga and Floyd counties recently attended ceremonies at the state capitol. They were guests of Representative Barbara Massey Reece for a day of activities surrounding the signing of the Veterans Day Proclamation by Governor Perdue and Commissioner Pete Wheeler. The proclamation designates November 11, 2009 as Veterans Day in Georgia and recognizes over 770,000 veterans living in Georgia as well as thousands on active duty.
Prior to the ceremony, Rep. Reece hosted a luncheon sponsored by Pfizer for the local group. Rear Admiral Robert E. Besal, U. S. Navy (retired), was keynote speaker. Admiral Besal was Commander of the USS SAVANNAH and the USS AMERICA. His distinguished Navy career includes missions throughout the world with over 4,000 hours flying tactical aircraft. His combat decorations include two awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, and three Air Medals. He is married to the former Jeannie Hill of Subligna and they reside in Charleston, S.C.
Representative John Yates,Chairman of the House Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee also addressed the group. Rep. Yates is the only WWII Veteran serving in the legislature. He flew over 200 missions, many during the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded six air medals and four battle stars.
The local veterans visited the war monuments and military displays at the Sloppy Floyd Building before joining veterans and active military from across the state for the ceremony.
Rep. Reece said, " This is an opportunity to recognise all our veterans for their service in preserving freedoms that we enjoy every day. This is the tenth year that I have hosted Veterans Day at the Capitol for vererans in our district. I would like to thank Pfizer and AT&T for sponsoring the bus and luncheon and making this special day possible."