Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Commander Sgt. Desphy and ROTC presented the flag and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

CCVMP President Norris Garrett introduced the speaker, Brigadier General Britt.


The following is the speech given at the park by Brigadier General Maria Britt:

"Carrollton County Veterans Day
7 November 2009

Welcome to this Veterans Day ceremony of remembrance and tribute. It is my honor to share in this important celebration with you.

So what is a veteran? A Veteran is a man and woman who served in the military (U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard) in times of war or peace. On Veterans Day, we pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the men and women who in defense of our freedom have bravely worn the uniform of the United States. From the fields and forests of war-torn Europe to the jungles of Southeast Asia, from the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan, brave patriots have protected our Nation's ideals, rescued millions from tyranny, and helped spread freedom around the globe.

This is a time to set aside the cares of the world and worries of the future – a time instead to look back in gratefulness to those fallen heroes of our country and those that still serve. It is this service and sacrifice that makes it possible for us to be here today, celebrating in freedom and safety the spirit and resolve of our great country.

Let us then recall why we celebrate Veterans Day. Our country sets aside two days a year to honor those who have served in her armed forces. Though similar, they differ importantly. In November, on shining, bright days like this one when yellow leaves hang on the trees, we mainly celebrate our living veterans, those who have, and still do, place themselves between our loved ones and war’s destruction. So it’s called Veterans Day.

The second day of tribute is in Spring –– Memorial Day, when we pause to remember and grieve our honored dead.

The WOT, this persistent conflict, is one of the most dangerous periods in our history. At this very moment, 260,000 Soldiers are deployed or “forward stationed” in nearly 80 countries overseas. Close to 5,000 have been killed and over 15K injured. The Ga Guard has deployed over 10,000 soldiers since 9/11. We currently have over 3,100 Ga guardsmen deployed today, most in Afghanistan. In addition to the 2800 soldiers with the 48th, we also have a Chinook unit(Savannah)and an Engineer route clearance company(Swainsboro) in Afghanistan. In Iraq, we have a Med Co out of Marietta) and an MP Co(Monroe).

The toll has been heavy, and personal. Georgia has lost 8 of its sons in the last 5 months. There were 7 children of National Guard soldiers that did not celebrate Father’s Day this year for the first time. We buried our latest fallen hero, SSG Alex French, on Oct 10th. I presented a flag to each of SSG French’s Children, his 5 yr old twins, Alex and Alexis, and his 2 yr old daughter Madison. The memory of those children, holding the folded stars and stripes, is seared on my heart.

Three weeks ago, I had the good fortune to be with the people of Dalton as they celebrated Liberty Week and culminated with the ringing of the Liberty Bell. It made me realize that we are so very blessed to live where we do. Many of us have adopted this land as home, or had ancestors that made that decision years ago. My grandparents had the courage to leave Italy in the early 1900s, before WWI and the depression, with little money in their pockets and no security in their future. My dad’s parents emigrated from Naples to NYC and my mom’s parents came from Sicily and settled in Amsterdam, NY. It’s hard to fathom the risk that they took, the sacrifice they made, to create a better life for their children, and their grandchildren. I am truly grateful to them and owe them much. My grandparents, and many of yours, had the courage to break from the past and brave the dangers and loneliness of a strange land where they couldn’t even speak the language, because they sought freedom from oppression. They sought Liberty!
I want my 3 daughters to inherit this gift of Liberty. And just as importantly, I want them to appreciate this gift, because its preservation comes at a high price.

Freedom is not free! The men and women of the United States Military have freely chosen to protect us and preserve this rich legacy to our children. It’s the hope, faith, and trust that I see in my daughter’s eyes that inspires me to keep soldiering.

It is a gift that can never be reciprocated in full, and only asks for remembrance in return.
So this morning, let us reflect on the common thread, the character of the generations of brave military who have put their “boots on the ground” in defense of American ideals.

On behalf of over one million service members and especially our citizen soldiers, thank you for your continued support. God bless all of our military and their families and may he continue to bless our great nation.
Thank you!
Brigadier General Maria Britt"