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Against the backdrop of a massive American flag hanging high, service members were honored at Delta's annual Veterans Appreciation Day event, where military aircraft are flown in from across the country for display on the floor of the Delta TechOps hangar in Atlanta.

Hosted by TechOps, the signature Veterans Day event drew crowds of employees, families and friends, and featured speakers from the U.S. military, including Brigadier General Ryan Britton of the U.S. Air Force; General James E. Livingston, a Medal of Honor recipient for the Vietnam War; consumer advocate and Georgia State Defense Force volunteer, Clark Howard; and Brigadier General Thomas Blackstock, Director of the Joint Staff for the Georgia National Guard. Over 30 military aircraft were displayed, including a C-17 from Charleston, S.C., a B-17 bomber, and two F-18s from New Orleans.

"I can't tell you how appreciative I am, to have you as part of our organization," CEO Ed Bastian said in a video message to all the Delta veterans and active military members in attendance. "Thank you for what you do for our country every day."

Don Mitacek, Senior Vice President — TechOps, shared his gratitude for the veterans currently serving in TechOps. Over 12,000 Delta employees worldwide are veterans, with 3,000 on active duty.

"We celebrate and honor veterans who unselfishly put their lives on the line for us. We remember and appreciate you, your spouses and your families," Mitacek said.

Patrick Burns, Vice President – Flight Operations & System Chief Pilot, talked about Delta's military hiring commitment through the Propel Program, which includes a structured path for pilots who've flown with the Air National Guard or Reserves to join Delta.

Kurt Robinson, President of the Veterans employee group, encouraged everyone to support veterans year-round, especially those struggling to transition to civilian life at home. "They need our help when coming home," he said.

Captain Patrick Jarvis, recently home from deployment in Iraq, took the stage to share his appreciation for the thousands of care packages TechOps sends to overseas troops. To date, 5,000 care packages have been shipped to 17 countries.

Although a mostly celebratory affair, the event featured somber note to honor Chase Maddox, husband of a Delta employee and local police officer who died in the line of duty in 2018. The Maddox family was presented with a Blue Line Bear, created to help comfort the children of fallen law enforcement officers.

As is the tradition of mutual respect and the passing of the baton between generations, the event concluded with a cake cutting, where the youngest veteran in attendance, 22, served the first slice to the eldest veteran, 85.

"Delta really treats us right," said Ed C., A320 First Officer and Wing Commander of the 187 Fighter Wing, Alabama.​ "We have a great relationship with the company. The whole veteran community at Delta enjoys tremendous support and the fact they put on an event like this is top-notch. I'm proud to be a part of it."​​​

Delta, Seattle Seahawks, Starbucks and Lyft send care packages for Veterans Day

In honor of Veterans Day, employees from the Seahawks, Delta Air Lines, Starbucks and Lyft are joining forces to create 2,000 care packages for service members, veterans and their families in partnership with USO Northwest. The care packages will include special items from the four organizations, including Seahawks wristbands, pens, thank you cards and lip balm; Starbucks VIA, reusable cups with lids, gum and snacks; as well as Biscoff cookies, snacks and coloring books for kids from Delta. The care packages will also include Lyft credit to assist service members, veterans, and their families with getting around when they get home.

RELATED: Veterans make great fit for Delta culture.

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