Military Appreciation Day at PGA Savannah Golf Championship

Military Appreciation Day…PGA Savannah Golf Championship…March 30, 2019


“In times of change, the Patriot is a scarce person: brave,

hated and scorned. However, when the cause succeeds,

the timid join in, for then it costs nothing to be a Patriot.”

(Mark Twain)


The bravest of our Patriots, today, neither hated nor scorned, are the men and women of our nation’s military.  And we are deeply thankful that is so.  Last Saturday, the second to the final day of the Savannah Golf Championship, played at the Landing’s Deer Creek Course, a salute to our military members, active-duty, guard, reserve, along with our great veterans, was the order of the day.

The ceremony began at about 6:30 PM with a jump by former Army Golden Knights parachutist from high above the golf course.  As the hundreds of gathered military personnel, past and present, along with many, many civilian supporters, looked skyward, former Green Beret & Golden Knight, Sgt. Dana Bowman, unfurled a huge American flag, shortly after he had exited the aircraft, which drew cheers and applause from the crowd watching every money of his descent.   And Bowman nailed it, landing squarely on the 18th green, as planned.

At that moment, 25+ volunteers raced to the green to grab and hold that massive, now out-stretched American flag, across that green, for the remainder of the brief ceremony.  And has Bowman, now unhooked from his jump harness and chute, walked in front of the awed, cheering crowd, to take his place on the ceremony stage, those in the crowd who could see him up-close realized, for the first time, that this former warrior-soldier, who had just made that exciting jump from high above, was actually a double (leg) amputee(!), the result of a past mid-air accident during Golden Knights training.  Amazing skill and courage on display.

After the presentation of our nation’s colors and National Anthem performed by the Third Infantry Division Band (“The Rhythm of the Marne”) with vocalist Sgt. James Motz, this author was honored to say a few words about our exceptional military (text follows below), and then to introduce our very special guest, the Commanding General of the Third I.D., Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, Major-General Lee Quintas.  The General thanked the very large crowd, and tournament organizers for this special tribute to all military members and how important it is to their missions that civilian support continue strong.  Following his well-received comments, PGA tournament organizer, Cheyenne Overby, drew attention to the work of the Landings Military Family Relief Fund, which for many years now, has come to the financial aid of families of deployed service members in need.  A check from a local, family-owned business for $10,000 was presented to Mr. Lou Molella, a long-time principal of the Landings Fund, who expressed his sincere thanks.  The ceremony concluded with fly-overs by the Army, Coast Guard, and GA Air National Guard aircraft.

A crowd, and especially child, favorite were the many Army static display items, from combat helicopters to armored combat equipment.  Each piece with expert Army soldiers on hand to explain the items, provide looks-inside, and gave the kids the freedom to crawl on, and in, the heavy armored vehicles.  The latter especially appropriate to display, as the Third Infantry Division has been transitioning back to a mainly heavy-mechanized division, its traditional designation.

The author’s introductory message reflecting our recognition of, and strong support for, our military, both nationally, and here locally, follows:

On this Military Appreciation Day, it is definitely appropriate to note, that we are blessed to have the strongest, most effective, and most respected freedom-preserving, and nation-securing force in the world…. America’s defenders…Our United States Military…

And we are blessed, as well, to have so many of our nation’s military members stationed here with us, in the greater Coastal Georgia region.  A region that actively welcomes, and very strongly supports, the men, women, and units of all five of our military branches, that we are fortunate and pleased to have among us.

Whether Active-Duty, Guard, Reserve, or our treasured Veterans. Courageous men and women all, who through conflicts past and present, and through welcome periods of peace as well, have stepped forward to serve our nation.

Dedicated, ready, and proud to answer their country’s call, whenever and wherever, that need and response may be.

And to do so, with the knowledge and understanding, from their very first day of service, and likely before, that sacrifice will be required of them, whether that be extended time away from family while deployed to a distant land, or, if in combat, even a greater sacrifice may occur, resulting in serious injury or, ultimately, even the loss of one’s life, responding to whatever threats we may face, in steadfast service to the continued freedom, security and sovereignty of our nation, our cherished homeland.

Military service is, indeed, a noble profession.  It is only the most capable and qualified, among us, who are afforded the honor and privilege of wearing our nation’s uniform.  We honor, respect, and appreciate them today, as we should every day, with sincere thanks for what they mean to, and do for, our great nation.

Ladies and gentlemen, the brave men and women of our military, past and present, are truly America’s finest.