Congressman Charlie Norwood's dedication to America's servicemen and servicewomen was praised Tuesday during a ceremony renaming the Uptown Augusta Veterans Affairs Medical Center in his honor.
National and state leaders were on hand as Gloria Norwood, the former lawmaker's widow, unveiled a replica of the bronze plaque bearing the seven-term congressman's likeness that will be placed at the hospital.
The facility will now be known as the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center.
A bill to rename the facility in Mr. Norwood's honor was sponsored by Georgia's congressional delegation and signed into law by President Bush.
Mr. Norwood died last February at his home in Augusta after an extended illness. He was 65.
Speaking to the crowd, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss joked that as a "great fiscal conservative," Mr. Norwood would think the government was spending too much taxpayer money to rename the facility. He said he remembered Mr. Norwood, a dentist, as passionate in his support of health care for veterans.
"Nobody was more committed to making sure that health care in this country improved every single day he was in office," Mr. Chambliss said, "particularly that health care improved for each and every one of our veterans."
As the keynote speaker, U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, of Georgia's 9th District, recalled a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan with Mr. Norwood where they visited wounded soldiers. He said Mr. Norwood, who served as a captain in the Vietnam War, appreciated the sacrifices of veterans.
"It is fitting and proper that from this day forward, the veterans who receive care in this facility will know that there was a congressman who cared about them," Mr. Deal said. "And his name was Charlie Norwood."
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