Past and present Veterans honored

Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and his wife Diane present the Virginia National Guard memorial wreath in honor of past and present Veterans Nov. 11, 2012, at the Shrine of Memory at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. — Virginia National Guard personnel took part in Veterans Day observations across the commonwealth that included a wreath laying, speeches, static displays and marching in parades. At the Commonwealth Veterans Day Ceremony held Nov. 11, 2012, at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, presented the Virginia National Guard memorial wreath in honor of past and present Veterans at the Shrine of Memory.

“This is a time of remembrance and appreciation for those men and women who have served bravely and honorably in the defense and security of our nation,” Long said in his Veterans Day message. “Defending this great nation is a generational duty that continues today.”

Members of the Virginia Defense Force volunteered their time to provide traffic control and parking assistance for the event co-hosted by the American Legion District 11 and the Virginia War Memorial. Veterans Day has been observed at the War Memorial annually since 1956.

In Roanoke, Soldiers from the Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the 29th Division Band marched Nov. 10 in the 3rd Annual Virginia’s Veterans Parade.

Soldiers from the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team provided static displays Nov. 11 for the Town of Leesburg and Loudoun County Veterans Day Observance at Dodona Manor.

Col. Blake C. Ortner, Virginia Army National Guard operations officer, was the keynote speaker for the Fishburne Military School Veterans Day Ceremony held Nov. 9 in Waynesboro. NBC 29 News reported that Ortner urged cadets to build character and resolve, whether they choose a military career or not.

“If you build an inner strength, the outside forces that will challenge you in your lives, challenge your families and challenge you in your faith, can easily be overcome,” Ortner said.

Long and Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker provided remarks Nov. 12 at a regional Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Statement of Support Signing Ceremony with Walmart at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. Kate Mora, regional general manager of Walmart Region 41, which includes Virginia, signed the pledge reaffirming Walmart’s commitment to work with veterans as they return from service and seek employment.

“We are so proud of our Virginia National Guard,” Decker said, and she expressed her thanks to Virginia Guard personnel currently serving and those who served in the past.

“Virginia was built on volunteerism, and we want to keep our volunteers the most trained and most ready we can,” Decker said. “Our challenge today is to keep the high level of training and readiness we have now so we can always have a ready force that can respond when needed.”

Decker also acknowledged the importance of the support employers provide members of the Guard and the rest of the military. “It is difficult enough for someone to leave their family, but if you have to worry about your job as well, that adds a tremendous burden,” she said.

Decker also praised the ESGR program that recognizes the employers who have “stepped up” to show their support for the military.

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View photos on Flickr:

Past and present Veterans honored at Va. War Memorial
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157631982956278/

Va. Guard hosts regional ESGR signing ceremony
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157631994321318/