The University of North Georgia (UNG) will honor veterans during a certificate presentation, military review, and parade on Friday, Nov. 11 on the university's Dahlonega Campus. The event is free and open to the public and will take place on the Gen. William "Lipp" Livsey Drill Field.
The Georgia Department of Veterans Service and Gov. Nathan Deal's office initiated a Certificate of Honor program with the goal of presenting it to all of Georgia's 234,000 Vietnam veterans.
UNG will present certificates to all those veterans who pre-register to attend the presentation ceremony at 1p.m. and military review at 3 p.m. All veterans and active-duty service members will also be honored during the event.
"Every Georgia veteran with honorable service is eligible to receive this certificate, including veterans with service in-country and those who served in other capacities," said retired Maj. Richard Neikirk, assistant commandant of cadets at UNG.
After the presentation ceremony, the annual Veterans Day review will begin and include the university's Corps of Cadets, a drill exhibition by the Blue Ridge Rifles Precision Drill Team, a performance by the Golden Eagle Band, and the Patriot Choir singing the National Anthem.
"As a senior military college, the University of North Georgia is proud to honor our veterans, who are the pride of our nation. They have fought our wars, defended our shores and kept us free," Neikirk said. "UNG has many veterans – faculty, staff and students. I encourage everyone to go up to those men and women, shake their hand, and give them a hug and a word of thanks. I also encourage everyone to thank their family members who are veterans for their service. It will mean more to them than you may realize."
Guest speaker for the review will be retired Maj. Gen. William George O'Leksy, former director of military personnel management at Headquarters Department of the U.S. Army.
O'Leksy served in the Army from 1954 to 1988 and commanded at various levels from platoon to brigade.
His achievements and contributions to the country's defense during his service have been recognized by 13 individual decorations for distinguished accomplishment, including two awards of the Distinguished Service Medal, the Army's highest award for service.
O'Leksy earned a doctorate and MBA from George Washington University in Washington D.C., and an honorary law degree from Saint Norbert College in West DePere, Wisconsin.
Due to limited seating surrounding the drill field, visitors may wish to bring chairs for the review. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be moved into the university's Student Recreation Center, located near the drill field.
To be recognized, Georgia veterans are invited to submit full name, rank, branch of service, and dates of service (years from-to) by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone to the Office of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving at 706-864-1547.
UNG is one of only six senior military colleges in the country and has been designated as The Military College of Georgia by the state legislature. UNG also has consistently been recognized as "military friendly" by national publications such as Military Times magazine, GI Jobs magazine and Military Advanced Education magazine.