RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia War Memorial held it’s annual Veterans Day ceremony in its E. Bruce Heilman Amphitheater Monday morning to honor hundreds of veterans from around the Commonwealth.
“On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, the guns fell silent. Today marks the 101st anniversary of the end of the Great War," said United States Army General Paul E. Funk II, who was one of the ceremony’s speakers.
Clay Mountcastle with the Virginia War Memorial emphasized that Veterans Day is about recognizing just how important service to our country is.
And some of those who did serve, such as Carlos Hopkins with the Virginia Veterans and Defense Affairs Office, took the time to acknowledge others from every corner of Virginia: “From the Northern Neck or Southwest, from Central Virginia, or the Shenandoah Valley - no matter what part of the Commonwealth they hail from, they all share one common purpose, and that was service to something greater than themselves.”
Virginia has the largest concentration of veterans, with over 700,000 former servicemen and women calling it home. According to Governor Ralph Northam, one in every 12 people in Virginia is a veteran.
“It is never easy to see your loved one pack their bags and go off into harm’s way. Not knowing where they’re going, and what they’re doing,” Northam said early into his speech.
The governor took the time to highlight some issues plaguing veterans, such as suicide, but also highlighted some initiative that the state took to ensure that those that serve come back to a home and a job.
“Virginia became the first state to effectively end homelessness for our veterans. We now, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, employ close to 55,000 veterans. They are special people. They have characteristics that we need to see more of in today’s society,” the governor said.
The celebrations don’t stop at the War Memorial, as there were other spots around the city that were doing their part.
For the movie-loving service members, certain AMC theater locations were offering a free large popcorn for those coming in with valid military ID. And vets could top that off with some food at Mission BBQ, which offered free sandwiches and cake for veterans and active military personnel.
“Everybody has a veteran in their family. Whether it’s them, or their father, uncle, brother, sister, or cousin or neighbor,” said Jeb Hockman with the Virginia War Memorial."Without veterans, without those willing to serve, we wouldn’t have all our freedoms here in America today.”
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