FORT BENNING, Ga., (Aug. 17, 2016) -- The Atlanta Falcons hosted a military appreciation day at their training facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia, Aug. 14 in a continuation of Fort Benning's community outreach and the NFL's salute to service military outreach.

The event, which was open to all active, reserve or retired members of the military and their families, showcased family activities and vendor booths while the Maneuver Center of Excellence Rock Band played. The event allowed attendees an insider view to watch the professional athletes train up for the upcoming football season.

In appreciation for their attendance, the Falcons gave the first 1,000 Soldiers or veterans two free tickets to the upcoming Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars game Sept. 1.

The partnership demonstrates Fort Benning's involvement with and commitment to the community and provides a unique platform from which mutual education can be gained.

"We're hoping that through some lessons learned, we can both make each other better," stated Maj. Gen. Eric Wesley, MCoE commanding general. "We talk about winning in the unforgiving crucible of ground combat. That takes forbearance, that takes training, that takes leadership. All of those things are true on the gridiron also."

Integral to the success of this symbiotic community outreach is AMB Group CEO Steve Cannon.

Cannon, who graduated from West Point in the class of 1986 alongside Wesley, understands and values the importance of such a partnership.

"We want to establish an authentic relationship with the Army. We live in the state of Georgia, we've got the highest concentration of Soldiers in our state and almost any other state, so if there's an NFL franchise that really needs to give back and to honor the military, it really has to be the Falcons," said Cannon. "The way I look at it is the greatest athletes in the world together with the greatest Soldiers in the world ... I think there's some magic there," said Cannon.

Atlanta Falcons owner and chairman Arthur Blank, and Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn addressed the veterans and Soldiers before the start of practice and expressed their sincere gratitude for their service and sacrifice.

"Welcome to Flowery Branch, and thank you all for attending our second military appreciation day here at training camp. The Atlanta Falcons organization takes great pride in going the extra mile to support our members of the military and to make sure they feel appreciated in everything that we do. From our coaching staff, players, associates and friends, we hope this day is special for each and every one of you," Blank said.

"Thank you to the members of the military for your service and dedication to protecting our great country. And thank you to the families for their sacrifice as well. We appreciate you all and appreciate you traveling to be here and for all of your support," said Quinn.

Shortly following this address, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation color guard presented the colors during the playing of the national anthem while the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Silver Wings jump team jumped-in the American flag.

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