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What is a Veteran?

Happy Veteran's Day! Here in Savannah, Veteran's Day is celebrated throughout the community. We are fortunate to live and work shoulder-to-shoulder with many of the thousands of active duty and veteran soldiers from the U.S. Army. Along with nearby naval and air force bases, one does not have to look far to find a service member to thank.

As part of the Veteran's Day events in the week leading up to the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month is the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce Military Appreciation Day luncheon. This year, the keynote speaker was Four Star General Robert B. Abrams. The central topic to his speech was re-examining how the civilian community thinks of the word "veteran." At first, it struck me as an odd topic, as I am sure it did for most of the group. He pointed out that here in Savannah, we all know veterans - we go to church with them, we live next door to them, we work with them, they are part of our daily lives, they are an essential part of our community. But in many areas of our country, there are no nearby military installations. Folks may not personally know a veteran. And thus, their concept of "veteran" is shaped in large part by what they absorb from the media. And unfortunately, those are not always positive portrayals.

I hope that each of us found a way to take some time today to celebrate and remember our friends, our neighbors, and our family members who have selflessly volunteered themselves for duty to our country. If you are fortunate enough to know one of these heroes, thank them. And if you do not naturally associate "veteran" with words like: hero, hardworking, selfless, skilled, trained, disciplined, and professional, you should make it your mission to personally meet a veteran because you clearly don't know one..

To all of our active duty service members and our veterans, a sincerest thank you, today and every day, for your service. We have the world's best military, made up entirely of volunteers, and their accomplishments go well beyond the battlefield and into our neighborhoods, offices, and communities.

Thank you!

David Purvis

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