RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As people across the nation honor troops who've served our country over the decades, Virginia is right in the mix.
The Virginia War Memorial held a big ceremony to remember the vets who fought for our freedom. Hundreds of people attended the service, including war veterans who make a point to remember this day every year.
The sights and sounds remind people of why we should all be proud to be Americans.
As pipers honored the fellow men and women who died for our freedom, Brenda Reese May is here to honor her only son. She says he was the first Virginian to die in the war in Iraq.
"I think about him everyday," said Reese. "I have his picture around. It's not something you easily forget."
He also left behind children. Family is a common thread that ties many veterans together including Patriot Rider, Jim McGinley, who served for 30 years in the Navy. His son has followed in his footsteps sailing the seas.
"I'm concerned about him and that whole ship. Everyone one of them. It's special," said McGinely. "It's just my way of giving back to my fellow shipmates one way or another."
All the patriots here have not forgotten the work troops are doing right now and all they've sacrificed in the past.
"It can get very emotional at times, McGinely added. "Today, I will have a tear or two in my eye thinking about some of the friends I've lost."
Congressman Eric Cantor addressed the crowd, along with other special guests to thank the veterans for their service.
"This is a solemn day because we remember how our county got to where we are," said Cantor. "It was built on the sacrifice of so many men and women. Some paid the ultimate sacrifice paying for our freedom.
As people laid wreaths at the memory statue, Brenda Reese May continues to remember her only son she lost serving our country. Virginia is currently home to more than 800,000 living veterans.