An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | June 3, 2024

Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony honors the fallen

By Cotton Puryear | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

Service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country were honored at the Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony May 27, 2024, at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Virginia.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin delivered the keynote address, and retired Maj. Gen. Craig Crenshaw, the Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, and Maj. Gen. James W. Ring, the Adjutant General of Virginia, also spoke. Youngkin and Crenshaw, along with Ring and his wife Rev. Leigh Anne Ring, placed memorial wreaths to honor the fallen.
Sgt. Carter Cooper, the Virginia National Guard Soldier of the Year, led the pledge of allegiance, and the 29th Infantry Division Band provided music for the ceremony. Members of the Virginia Defense Force volunteered their time to provide  traffic management assistance for the event.

“What an honor it is to come together and remember freedom is not free,” Youngkin said. “This is the day we come together to revere, remember the heroes whose faithfulness and dedication to our nation was fully revealed by their ultimate sacrifice.”

He also recognized the families who lives were forever changed by the loss of their loved ones.

“We share your grief,” Youngkin said. “Thank you for allowing Virginia and our nation today to share in honoring their sacrifice.”

Crenshaw told the attendees their presence came with a purpose and a focus to honor the fallen. He explained that while service members come from all walks of life, they share fundamental qualities of pride in themselves, their unit and their country.

“They displayed a selfless dedication to duty and integrity,” he said. “They demonstrated in every action a willingness to make an ultimate sacrifice for a cause in which they believe.”

Crenshaw said that in order to further their legacy of those we have lost, we must teach and share with others about their sacrifices so we may continue to enjoy the liberties and freedoms granted in our Constitution.

“The most pointed way to honor our service heroes is to continue to gather on this special day each year to pay homage to each of them,” he said. “We can honor those we have lost by living up to the ideas which they died defending. Today we honor the fallen, and we remember all of them with the love of a grateful nation and commonwealth.”

Ring echoed the importance of remember the sacrifices of the families.

“We also honor the families left behind,” Ring said. “The parents, the spouses, the children, the loved ones who bear the weight of their absence. To those families and loved ones, we offer our deepest gratitude and extend our thoughts and prayers for your loss. Your sacrifices are immeasurable, and we also remember you on this Memorial Day.”

He also stressed the importance of carrying forward the legacies of those we remember.

“Let us uphold the freedoms they fought to defend,” Ring said. “Let us ensure that their sacrifice was not in vain, by holding to the ideals for which they lived, and for which they died, so that future generations may also enjoy the blessings of life, liberty and freedom.”

He said we must ensure the memory of their lives and service is never forgotten and remains alive in our hearts and in our minds.

“We are forever grateful, and we honor them for their selfless service and sacrifice,” Ring said.


News Archive by Category

All Entries