September 26, 2014
Written by: Sophie Gaze
Georgia Aquarium Senior Divemaster
The month of September will always transport Americans back to that fateful day when the tragic events of 9-11 changed our county’s history. For military families, this day was even more consequential as deep down they knew that their loved ones would soon be called to duty overseas to right this unforgivable wrong. Since 2001, over 6,000 soldiers have lost their lives, leaving their families behind to cope with the loss.
In August, the Dive Immersion department hosted a group of Purple Heart Awardee and Gold Star families represented by the Task Force Dagger Foundation. This was an all-day event that involved extensive pre-planning to successfully tour over 30 divers and swimmers through Ocean Voyager built by the Home Depot.
Our day began by greeting the group in the Oceans Ballroom, where our COO and Aquarium President, David Kimmel, welcomed our guests and a Gold Star wife presented on her personal journey. The speech transported us into the life of a military wife and explained how deeply her world was rocked the day she was told her husband had been killed in action. Her presentation ended with a message of confidence, motivating families who have experienced loss to carry on in the face of adversity. At the end of the assembly, the Task Force Dagger Foundation awarded David Kimmel, with two military coins to recognize our institution's commitment to veterans and their families.