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NEWS | Nov. 15, 2023

Veterans honored at Va. War Memorial Veterans Day ceremony

By A.J. Coyne | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

The Virginia War Memorial Veterans Day Ceremony honored those who have served and are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces Nov. 10, 2023, at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Virginia. Maj. Gen. James W. Ring, the Adjutant General of Virginia, delivered remarks during the ceremony. Sgt. 1st Class Tramel C. Hines, a Virginia National Guard Soldier assigned to Joint Force Headquarters, led the pledge of allegiance. The Troutville-based 29th Infantry Division Band provided ceremonial music for the event.

In addition, members of the Virginia Defense Force volunteered their time to provide access control assistance.

“As we stand amongst the hallowed spaces of this Virginia War Memorial, may we remember that the freedoms we enjoy here today are assured through the selfless service and sacrifice of veterans,” Ring said. “Today as we gather to commemorate Veterans Day we stand in profound gratitude and respect for the men and women who selflessly served our commonwealth and nation. We pay tribute to those who have donned the uniform, who served not on behalf of themselves, but on behalf of the principles of freedom both here at home as well as abroad. So thank you to all of the veterans that are gathered here today and we thank you for your unwavering sacrifice and service.”

Ring also took time to thank the family members of veterans for their support.

“To the family members of our veterans we thank you as well,” he said. “Our veterans could not have done the service they do, our military men and women who stand in service to our Commonwealth and nation, could not do the jobs that we do without your support.”

In addition to Ring, Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears, Daniel M. Gade, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, and Dr. Clay Mountcastle, director of the Virginia War Memorial, provided remarks to the assembled crowd.

“On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the Great War was ended,” explained Gade. “The war to end all wars did no such thing as these silent walls can, and do, attest.
“Our veterans have been alongside us the entire time, making their communities, families and country safe for our freedoms and our way of life,” Gade said. “To those we honor today, I say thank you. Thank you for our freedoms and thank you for your sacrifices in war and peace.”

“What really brings us together around Veterans Day is a love of this country, pride in what we as Americans stand for and pride in those Americans among us that have loved those country so much that they have served it and defended it and still do,” Mountcastle said. “Our veterans, past and present, are exceptional Americans and they in turn make America exceptional.”

World War I, known at the time as “The Great War,” officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the observance of Veterans Day on November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day- a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

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