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Mayor Mike Bodker honors Purple Heart recipients at Veterans Memorial Walk

August 08, 2015

Mayor Bodker at Purple Heart ceremonyJohns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker, on behalf of the Johns Creek City Council, recognized and honored those wounded or killed in defense of the nation during a Purple Heart Day ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Walk in the city’s Newtown Park Aug 7. 

The ceremony was hosted by the Johns Creek Veterans Association in conjunction with National Purple Heart Day.

Mayor Bodker observed that behind each statistic is a service member who put his or her life at risk, and behind him or her are families profoundly affected by the sacrifice of their loved one.

“It is important that each time we see one of these statistics in the media or online that we do not allow ourselves to focus only on the number,” said Bodker.  “I ask you to pause each time and take a moment to consciously realize that there is a name and face associated with each number.  It is a person whose life has been forever impacted by a specific violent event in the service of our nation.”

Rick Graham, the Director of Operations for the Georgia Department of Veteran Services, recounted a story of his drill sergeant, who was a Purple Heart recipient, emphasizing to his young soldiers the pain and reality of being wounded in combat to help them better understand the risk they face.

About 100 people attended the ceremony in which Purple Heart recipients read several names of Georgia residents killed in action from World War II to Afghanistan. A bell tolled after each name.

The mayor concluded his remarks by noting our nation owes a debt of gratitude to the generations of men and women who have been wounded or killed in combat.

“From our nation’s independence to both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and the many other wars and conflicts in between, our freedom and way of life remains intact,” said Bodker. “And it did not come without a price.  Those who wear the Purple Heart paid a significant price for us all.”

At the close of the ceremony, Mayor Bodker laid a wreath at the Purple Heart Memorial in the Veterans Memorial Walk. A bugler and a bag-piper played Taps and Amazing Grace.

Johns Creek became a designated Purple Heart City in May.

Watch the ceremony here. Read the mayor's remarks here.