Around this time every year, Americans across the country recognize the sacrifices our veterans have made for our freedom.
Towns hold parades, churches host covered dish suppers, and businesses offer discounts. All of these gestures are commendable, but we must continue to thank our veterans daily and recognize the sacrifices they made along with their families.
On Saturday, November 7, fifteen Peach State veterans were inducted into the Georgia Military Hall of Fame—seven World War II veterans and eight Vietnam veterans. These American heroes answered the call of duty, fought in the trenches, and stared down the enemy.
One inductee, United States Navy Machinist Mate 1st Class S.O. Swygert of Columbus volunteered to serve in the Navy as a frogman, or combat diver, on the Navy’s elite Underwater Demolition Teams. These units were a precursor to present-day Navy Seals.
Decades later in 1996, Mr. Swygert participated in a patriotic relay of over 12,000 participants when he was selected to carry the Olympic torch. He proudly carried the torch through his hometown, handing off the iconic symbol to the Mayor of Columbus.
All of these Hall of Fame inductees championed the blessings of liberty and freedom around the world and back home in the United States.
Think of all of the amazing things these veterans accomplished. They established democracies, defended liberty, and freed an entire continent from tyranny.
Like many Americans in my generation, my father, David A. Perdue Sr., served in World War II and the Korean War. He retired as a colonel in the Air Force Reserves in 1952 and taught me at a young age that no one understands the true price of freedom more than our nation’s veterans.
This still rings true today.
Our country now relies on an all-volunteer force of heroes who answer the call of duty to protect us. American service members are deployed and redeployed at a higher rate now than ever before. Our country must never forget our service members’ sacrifices.
I take the responsibility of preserving our veterans’ legacy very seriously and I will always strive to fulfill our country’s promises to the women and men who wore the uniform.
Veterans Service Organizations, the Georgia Military Hall of Fame, and programs like Honor Flight do an outstanding job honoring our heroes and reconnecting them with their comrades. We must build on their successes and strive to always support our veterans and their families.
This week, we salute our American heroes and Georgia’s entire military community.
Thank you for protecting our beloved nation and promoting freedom throughout the world.
(Editor’s Note: The City of Thomaston and the Upson Lee NJROTC Unit will hold a Veterans Day Ceremony Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Greatest Generation Memorial Park. The City of Yatesville will hold a Veterans Day Ceremony Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Field at the corner of Highway 74 and Logtown Road. The public is invited to both ceremonies.)
David Perdue is the freshman Senator from Georgia, elected to office in 2014.