The announcement of exceeding the 2012 veterans hiring goal caps several days of honoring military heroes at Coca-Cola. Today, the Company hosted its 13 th annual Veterans Day ceremony, which included special remarks from the Secretary of Labor, who joined Steve Cahillane in recognizing the Company’s rich heritage with veterans and the military. The event also featured a keynote address from Michele Jones, Director of External Veterans/Military Affairs and Community Outreach for the President's Veterans Employment Initiative. To close the event, attendees were treated to a rousing performance by national recording artist, Mark Wills.On Wednesday, hundreds of Coca-Cola associates helped support active-duty military members with a USO Care Package “stuffing party.” Atlanta-area employees pitched in to fill more than 10,000 packages with items such as batteries, Odwalla bars, phone cards, toothpaste and personal letters of thanks from Coca-Cola associates. These parcels will be distributed to service men and women to offer them a touch of home and a bit of comfort and convenience as they serve their country. Addressing employees at the event, Muhtar Kent said, “With each package you assemble, you’re telling a soldier you care and that you remember and honor his or her service and sacrifice. And that’s a very worthy and honorable thing.” Reaching the milestone of hiring 800 veterans is not the end of the recruitment effort at Coca-Cola. The U.S. military provides a qualified pipeline of talented individuals who offer a wide variety of abilities, diversity of perspective and ingrained leadership and drive. Moving forward, the Company will ramp up comprehensive programs to recruit, develop and retain our nation's heroes to help build our business. Coca-Cola began its support of U.S. military troops in 1941 during World War II when former Company President Robert Woodruff committed “to see that every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca-Cola for five cents, wherever he is and whatever it costs the Company.” That same decade, the Company began a more than 70-year partnership with the USO. Today, the Coca-Cola system provides more than 2.5 million beverage servings per day to active-duty members of the armed forces, reservists, retirees and their families. In addition, throughout the year, many marketing programs pay tribute to and reward veterans for their service.