Several events in and around the city of Atlanta honored US military veterans and their families yesterday for Veterans' Day. The holiday is also the reason many government offices and private businesses will be closed today.
In honor of current and former military, Gwinnett County hosted a Veterans Day ceremony at the Fallen Heroes Memorial in Lawrenceville. There was also a celebration in the city of Smyrna, which hosted its own ceremony at Brinkley Park. Douglas County's "Parade with a Purpose" kicked off Sunday night in Douglasville at 7 p.m. to grand fanfare.
The metro area and the state of Georgia were joined by revelers around the nation who took time out to honor America's military veterans, many of whom are wounded or deceased. President Barack Obama also took time on Sunday to pay tribute to military heroes and their loved ones.
In the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, the president laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to mark the holiday and declared that soldiers' needs would be met as the country winds down wars in the Middle East and Asia. Obama also pledged continuing support for veterans as they make the transition to civilian life.
"This is the first Veterans Day in a decade in which there are no American troops fighting and dying in Iraq," he said.
Obama ended combat operations in Iraq December of last year. The war lasted more than eight years, and almost 5,000 Americans were killed during the conflict. Obama has promised the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, which has become the longest military conflict in US history.
"After a decade of war, our heroes are coming home," said Obama. "Over the next few years more than a million service members will transition back to civilian life."