John Gwizdak, past Commander in Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, addressed the Rotary Club of Stone Mountain Tuesday with sobering accounts of missions to recover remains of war dead and a reminder to show appreciation to men and women of all military branches.
"When you see a soldier, a [National] guardsman...just tell them thanks," he said.
Gwizdak, a wounded Vietnam veteran who was VFW chief from 2000-2001, spoke to the Rotary Club of Stone Mountain during its commemoration of Patriot Day and POW/MIA Day -- which is Sept. 16 -- at its Tuesday gathering at .
As the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks approaches, Gwizdak said people shouldn't forget the sacrifices made for them.
"We take it for granted that we get up and do the things we do," Gwizdak said. "As we talk about freedom and talk about 9/11, we've got to remember."
Gwizdak, who has traveled around the world to participate in recovery of remains, said some 80,000 people are still missing in action.
"That's a lot of folks, but I'm sure if we had them sitting here today, they would not do anything different," he said. "They would be proud."