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Clayton Chamber celebrates Veteran's Day

By Jaya Franklin

jfranklin@henryherald.com

The Clayton County Chamber of Commerce and the Military Affairs Council held their 10th annual Veteran's Day luncheon Friday to show appreciation for veterans and active duty soldiers.

"This is far beyond remembering vets two or three times a year," said Col. Marguerite C. Garrison. "Vets not only serve while wearing uniforms, but when they retire as well," said Garrison.

The luncheon was held in celebration of the Veteran's Day holiday. Andrew Billings, aide to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, said the holiday has different meanings to different people.

"For some, it's a day off and a cook out," said Billings, grandson of a Coast Guard veteran. "For others, it's a day of mourning and paying respect to people who have fought for us."

Billings went on to say that everyone is affected by Veteran's Day or Memorial Day. "Because of the people who have died for us," he said.

Former Iraqi POW, Chief Warrant Officer Ron Young, Jr., said his experiences have made him appreciate life, and all of the soldiers who have fought for our freedom.

"To see people die in front of me, makes me realize how precious life is," said Young, who was held captive for 22 days, along with his co-pilot. "I can't fully explain, in words, how Iraq has changed my life," he said.

Bob Bolia, chairman of the Military First Council and a retired soldier, said there are several things that non-military members can do to support the troops.

"They can help a United Service Organization," said Bolia. "Soldiers are coming back and they need support. If a U.S.O., asks you for something, please help. We need to let our troops know that we're behind them and they're doing a great job," added Bolia, who served four years in Vietnam.

The United Service Organization is a non-profit organization that serves as a liaison between the American public and the U.S. military.

The Veteran's Day holiday will be celebrated on Sunday, Nov. 11. The public holiday honors veterans of the U.S. armed forces, and those killed in battle.

The holiday was originally called Armistice Day, and it began as a commemoration of the ending of World War I.