Adjutant General of Virginia National Guard 2021 Memorial Day Message
Each year on Memorial Day we make time to honor the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of duty, honor and country. The past year has seen us overcome tremendous challenges, and I think we can all use Memorial Day to reaffirm our commitment to selfless service and pay tribute to the Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who gave their lives in service to our country. They portray the values and ideals on which this country was founded, and they are a source of tremendous inspiration.
The Virginia War Memorial will host the Commonwealth of Virginia’s 65th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony May 31, 2021, both in-person and online. The 10 Virginia National Guard Soldiers lost to hostile enemy action while on federal active duty in service to their country since Sept. 11, 2001, are among the 175 Virginians whose names are etched onto the Virginia War Memorial’s Shrine of Memory for the Global War on Terrorism and Beyond. The shrine, which opened in February 2020 as part of a new expansion to the War Memorial, sits adjacent to the original Shrine of Memory, which includes the names Virginians who died during World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War.
Read more about the Virginia National Guard’s fallen warriors remembered at the Virginia War Memorial at https://go.usa.gov/x6cAH.
It is also appropriate to remember the men and women who died in the line of duty on official state or federal orders under Title 32 of the United States Code whose names are on the Commonwealth Public Safety Memorial. Thirty two Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are remembered among the nearly 900 Virginia public safety officers at the memorial site at Capitol Square in Richmond.
Read more about the Public Safety Memorial at https://go.usa.gov/x6cAF.
Just a few days after Memorial Day, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford will mark its 20th year of operations on the 77th anniversary of D-Day. More than 800 members of the 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division were killed, wounded or missing during the assault on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, but their courage and bravery helped create a foothold that allowed follow on forces to continue the assault and set the stage for Allied victory in Europe.
As many of us will be able to take a knee and spend time with family and friends over the holiday weekend, please remember we still have Soldiers, Airmen, and Defense Force Personnel conducting response operations as well as serving on federal active duty away from their loved ones. We thank them as well as all the other service members on duty all over the world, and we will keep them in our thoughts on prayers and look forward as we look forward their safe return.
This year more than ever we owe a special thanks to our families and employers for their essential support to the Virginia National Guard. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish our mission.
It is an honor to serve with you.
Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams
28th Adjutant General of Virginia