Gov. Brian Kemp and state lawmakers honored veterans at the Capitol this week in a ceremony that sought to honor the sacrifices of service members and their families.
“Someone in uniform has sacrificed something for all of us,” said Kemp. “I encourage everyone to simply thank a veteran.”
Republican Rep. Bill Hitchens of Rincon, a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War who deployed from 1966 to 1967, was among those in attendance at the event, which was held in the main hall of the Capitol building.
Hitchens recalled how he and other Vietnam veterans were treated with scorn when they returned home from the war.
“My best friend that joined the Marines with me ended up getting killed in Vietnam,” said Hitchens. “A lot of my friends did. I will never forget when we came back and landed in San Francisco, how we were treated. People didn’t hold us in high regard.”
Hitchens said veterans appreciated the gesture of support from Georgia’s leaders.
“This administration has been very positive towards veterans,” he said.
Democrat Sen. Ed Harbison of Columbus, who is a retired Marine and vocal supporter of veterans’ issues, expressed gratitude for the occasion.
“It is amazing to hear stories from all of you about battle, triumph, and survival,” said Harbison. “This ceremony holds a special place in my heart. “