MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- (Feb. 6, 2014) -- Alabama legislators paid homage to the state's military presence Thursday, declaring Feb. 6, 2014 to be "Military Appreciation Day."

Army Materiel Command's senior leader, Gen. Dennis L. Via, travelled to the state capital to meet with Governor Robert Bentley and other key Alabama law makers, including members of the Military Stability Commission, Alabama National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Perry Smith and Maxwell Air Force Base Commander, Lt. Gen. David S. Fadok.

Following an office call with the governor, Via accepted a resolution honoring active service members and veterans, and spoke to the gathered legislators in the State House Chambers.

"On behalf of our Armed Forces and the United States Army, I sincerely thank you for the joint resolution presented today honoring the men and women who wear, and have worn, the uniform of the United States Armed Forces," Via said.

"As the highest ranking military officer serving in the state of Alabama, I can tell you that everyone who wears the uniform considers themselves very fortunate to be part of a special state that celebrates and honors its service members and veterans in such meaningful and significant ways," Via said.

"Alabama is a strong pro-military state, and it is important to recognize and thank our military members whenever we can," Governor Robert Bentley said.

Rep. Howard Sanderford (R-Huntsville) presented a House Resolution in honor of Military Appreciation Day. Military service members in attendance were recognized and a moment of silence in memory of fallen troops was observed.

"Our fighting men and women deserve infinite thanks. It is an honor to set aside a day in the Legislature to recognize them," said Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey, who presided over the Joint Session. "Alabama boasts a strong history of supporting our military and it has been my goal since taking office to ensure we continue that legacy."

Alabama's federal installations include Redstone Arsenal, Anniston Army Depot, Fort Rucker, and Maxwell Air Force Base.

"These installations are essential to our ability to defend our homeland, and to fight and win our nation's wars," Via added.

Via also encouraged the legislators to speak with business leaders in their communities about extending employment opportunities to veterans returning to Alabama.

"They deserve an opportunity to transition into a good job that will allow them to pursue the American dream they served to protect," Via said. "They are ready to help Alabama companies and organizations improve and grow … through their selfless service and sacrifice, and especially the service and sacrifice of their families, they certainly have earned it."

Following the remarks, Via lunched with members of the Alabama Job Creation and Military Stability Commission. The commission was established to proactively ensure the stability of Alabama-based Department of Defense resources, including National Guard and Reserve forces. The committee studies the economic impact DoD resources have on local communities, as well as impact on state and local jobs and impact on supporting businesses.