Memorial Day ceremonies scheduled across southwest Virginia to honor those who served our country

Local News

(WFXR) — Around the Commonwealth and around the country, communities are holding Memorial Day ceremonies to honor the brave heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

American Legion Post 93 of Buchanan invites residents to attend a Memorial Day event at the Fairview Cemetery at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 31.

Congressman Ben Cline will be a guest speaker, as well as Gene Malinowski, the Vice Commander of the American Legion Department of Virginia.

There will also be musical performances by David Austin — and family — and Charles LeFew. Meanwhile, members of the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office will present the colors.

Air Force and Army veteran Daniel Garrett says it’s important that people understand the true meaning behind the federal holiday.

“It’s very important for people to really understand what Memorial Day is all about. It’s for those that paid the ultimate sacrifice for their nation,” said Garrett. “They gave their life for the very freedoms that we get to enjoy this weekend and that’s why it’s so important that we should come out, wherever you’re at, whether it be the Roanoke Valley, here in Buchanan, just come out and pay homage to those who did sacrifice their very life so that we can the freedoms that we hold so dear.”

Meanwhile, after being canceled last year during the coronavirus pandemic, a memorial ceremony will be held in Rocky Mount Monday morning to honor veterans.

The event is set to take place in the Franklin County Veteran’s Memorial Park — which honors soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who served in all wars — at 11 a.m. on Monday. This ceremony is not only free, but it is open to the public.

Over in Bedford, the National D-Day Memorial is also holding a Memorial Day ceremony, but it will be held virtually. The ceremony — recorded on-location at the memorial — will premiere at 11 a.m. on Monday on the National D-Day Memorial Facebook page.

The memorial will still be open on Monday — even offering free admission from 10 a.m. to noon — so on-site guests are invited to watch the virtual ceremony inside the Bobbie G. Johnson Pavilion at select times throughout the day. Attendees are asked to practice social distancing and wear a mask while inside the pavilion.

The Foundation’s ongoing research has now led to the identification of two more Americans lost on D-Day, bringing the known total to 4,415 Allied service members who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom on June 6, 1944. This Memorial Day we remember and honor Frederick Nye Moses Jr. and Clarence A. Tolle with the addition of their names to the Memorial’s Necrology Wall.

In what has come to be a Memorial Day tradition, guests can view the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross display on the Memorial’s west lawn (across from Gift Shop). The display honors America’s fallen in current and past conflicts, dating back to the War of Independence. The helmet on rifle with bayonet thrust in the ground was used during battle to mark the location of the fallen for later retrieval. The modern military rarely has the need to mark the fallen in such fashion. Instead, displays that combine the rifle, helmet, and boots of the fallen are often used in memorial services. The visual tribute has come to be known as the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross.

While at the Memorial, be sure to view the newly installed bricks in the Annie J. Bronson Veterans Memorial Walk.

Facebook event description for the Memorial Day 2021 Commemoration at the National D-Day Memorial

On the other side of Virginia, the 2021 Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial will be live and presented via livestream on Monday from 11 a.m. until noon. The event takes place at the E. Bruce Heilman Amphitheater and Shrine of Memory.

The annual ceremony is to honor all the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend America, from the Revolutionary War to today’s Global War on Terrorism.

Speakers for the event include:

  • Gov. Ralph Northam
  • Kathleen Jabs, Virginia Acting Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs
  • John Maxwell, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services
  • Dr. Clay Mountcastle, Director of the Virginia War Memorial
  • 380th Army Reserve Band Quintet
  • Gold Star families and other special guests

All attendees are encouraged to arrive no later than 10:45 a.m. People who are not fully vaccinated are strongly urged to wear masks in all settings, both indoors and outdoors.

Anyone can watch the ceremony on the Virginia War Memorial’s Facebook page.

Organizers say limited free parking will be available in the memorial parking lot and deck. The memorial will be open to the public from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

In addition, President Joe Biden is set to visit the fully-reopened Arlington National Cemetery on Monday to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Nationwide, communities are joining forces to honor the men and women who served our country. Thousands of flags mark the graves of the fallen soldiers in a gesture of gratitude and remembrance.

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