Sandy Springs Veterans Day Tribute 09/16/12
Photo by Phil Mosier Monday November 12, 2012 10:30am Morgan Falls Overlook Park. Keynote speaker, Maj. Gen. Maria Britt talks with Steven Butz member of Sandy Springs Boy Scout Troup 463. Butz played the bugle solo to open the event. Butz attends Mt. Vernon Pres School in the 8th grade.

Sandy Springs officials gathered at Morgan Falls Overlook Park for its annual tribute, and this year the speakers focused on families of veterans serving in the military.

Keynote speaker Maj. Gen. Maria Britt, former commanding general of the Georgia Army National Guard, talked about how she responded to her children’s curiosity about why she put on the uniform.

“Service members take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, but our families don’t take that oath,” Britt said. “They do it out of patriotism and love for their country and their significant other. Their service isn’t measured by visible medals on their chests, but by hidden pride and love in their hearts.”

Britt said she was proud and thankful for the support of her three daughters. She said the pain of watching a loved-one board a bus for a long journey to fight in another country is part of the sacrifice military families make.

Mayor Eva Galambos said Britt’s words moved her.

“She made us realize again how important it is to safeguard our freedoms,” Galambos said.

The city of Dunwoody held its Veteran’s Day ceremony near the veteran’s memorial in Brook Run Park.

One of the featured speakers was Blake Yeargin, a corporal in the National Guard and a detective for the Dunwoody Police Department.

Yeargin, who was deployed to Afghanistan, said after serving overseas he has a deeper understanding for the veterans who came before him.

“We all knew what we were fighting for,” Yeargin said. “Fighting – and some of us dying – for the freedom we have in the United States of America.”

The event was hosted by Councilman Denis Shortal, who is also a retired brigadier general in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Shortal, wearing his dress blues, told the crowd that while it’s important to support the veterans in their communities, Veteran’s Day should also be a time to thank those that sacrificed their lives in service.

“The real heroes are those who did not return or those who carry the scars of war with them,” Shortal said.