RICHMOND, Va. — Because of the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia National Guard participation in Veterans Day events was greatly reduced, but the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the Armed Forces was still honored and recognized.
Staff Sgt. Eddie B. Jones led the Pledge of Allegiance at the 64th annual Commonwealth’s Veterans Day Ceremony Nov. 11, 2020, at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Virginia. Jones is assigned to the 29th Infantry Division and represented the Virginia National Guard at the Army National Guard Regional Best Warrior Competition. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins also attended the event and recognized the important service of veterans and the efforts of the Commonwealth of Virginia to support them.
The Troutville-based 29th Infantry Division Band supported multiple events recognizing Veterans Day in Norfolk, Lynchburg and Bassett.
“Each year on Veterans Day we recognize the outstanding service of the men and women who wear the cloth of our nation to protect the ideals of freedom across the globe and defend the homeland here in the United States,” wrote Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, in his 2020 Veterans Day message. “This year has placed incredible stress on our formations and our loved ones, but we have all stayed resilient. We live in challenging times, and now more than ever we need to pay tribute to the service of our Armed Forces and remember to work as a team and carry ourselves professionally to honor the legacy of those who served before us.”
Williams reviewed the past year and significant contributions of the National Guard across the nation as well as in Virginia.
“Here in Virginia, our Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force have made and more importantly continue to make significant contributions to the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 response operations,” he wrote. “We also supported state and local law enforcement during times of civil unrest to help keep our fellow Virginians safe and protect their right to peacefully protest. I am incredibly proud of the magnificent performance and the dedication to duty displayed by all of our uniformed personnel as well as our state and federal civilian workforce.”
He also stressed the importance of recognizing the crucial role of families and employers because the VNG could not accomplish the mission without their support.
He concluded with acknowledging for the VNG to become an even more diverse and inclusive force, the focus should be more on what binds us together and less on our differences.
“We all joined this organization to guard what we love, and we all want our families and communities to be safe,” he wrote. “Now more than ever, we need to work as a team to continue to build resilience and move forward towards common goals of peace and prosperity. The eyes of our communities, state and nation are on us. We should set the example by living the Army and Air Force values in our daily lives, and always treat others with dignity and respect whether we are in person or online.”