Gov. Nathan Deal told a West Hall church this morning that Georgians shouldn't just "say thank you" to veterans but find ways of opening up job opportunities to them.
"Let's try to address the needs of those men and women who are now coming back home as we see a downsizing in Iraq and ... Afghanistan," Deal said, speaking to Flat Creek Baptist Church congregants, as part of a Veterans Day service.
"One of the great tragedies is that when veterans return, especially wounded warriors, they have a great difficulty finding a slot back in civilian society. Mainly, they have a hard time finding a job."
Deal went on to talk about state initiatives to help returns veterans to the workplace.
"As you may know, Georgia has one of the highest military populations of any state in the country."
Although not mentioned by Deal, the Governor's Office of Workforce Development has set up a special website for veterans, "Operation: Workforce," that allows them to upload a resume and search and apply for jobs.
The site also allows Georgia employers to create profiles, post job listings, review job applicants and search the site for qualified candidates, according to the website.
Deal did say the Office of Workforce Development is working with various state agencies in pushing for higher veteran employment.
Last week, the state sponsored a job fair for veterans that drew some 270 companies and state agencies, including the Georgia State Patrol.
"We have a responsibility to try to help (veterans)," Deal said.
Also, this afternoon, the Vietnam Veterans of America’s annual wreath-laying ceremony at the newly named Rock Creek Veterans Park, off Academy Street in Gainesville, was changed up this year to include the Korean War Veterans of Georgia.
The Hall County-based Korean War group unveiled a new monument at Rock Creek on Oct. 27.
The Vietnam War and Korean War monuments both feature the names of fallen warriors from the respective wars.
The ceremony also included veterans placing a wreath at a monument honoring veterans who served collectively from World War I to the Persian Gulf War.
Few words were spoken during the event, which also featured the playing of taps.
Asked afterward what he thought about the park, now updated with the Korean War memorial, Paul Scroggs, president of Korean War Veterans of Georgia, said, "Any day of the week now, you can come up here and there’ll be one or two or three of us hanging out here."
He said there is now talk of placing some kind of decorative archway at the park entrance.
"That’s our upcoming project," Scroggs said.
Also taking place today was Family Day activities focused on veterans at the Northeast Georgia History Center.
The Post 7's Monday program is set to begin at 11 a.m., taking place at Lakewood Baptist Church, 2235 Thompson Bridge Road, Gainesville.
The ceremony will feature a posting of colors by Riverside Military Academy, music by Chestatee High School band and special remarks by retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Don Landrum.