Adjutant General’s 2012 Memorial Day Message

Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr.

Memorial Day grew from a Civil War tradition of women’s groups gathering each year to decorate the graves of those whose lives were lost; two decades after that bloody conflict, some wondered why the holiday was necessary. One of its veterans, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. – later a Supreme Court justice – argued remembrance was not only relevant, but a duty to the fallen. “It is for us to bear the report to those who come after us,” Holmes stated.

Many Americans across the country will celebrate Memorial Day as a welcome day of rest from the rigors of work and most importantly, an occasion to reflect, remember, and honor all those who have served and sacrificed in defense of our nation.

Since the 9/11 attacks against America, Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have served on the frontlines at home and abroad. Across the Nation, nearly 700 brave and selfless National Guardsmen and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan in the cause for the freedoms of this nation.  This past year in Virginia, we welcomed home nearly 1,700 Soldiers and Airmen to their families, many who have deployed multiple times. Additionally, Virginia has mobilized over 14,000 Guardsmen and women while simultaneously responding to the needs of the Commonwealth as a result of natural disasters, security, and protection- and still today- we have Virginia Guardsmen serving in harms way.

While Memorial Day is a special holiday set aside to reflect on the service of our armed forces, it should by no means be the only day of the year in which we keep our servicemen and women in our hearts and minds.

This Memorial Day, as you reflect on the sacrifices made by Virginia National Guard members at home and abroad for over four centuries, also consider the family members of our servicemen and women. They, too, have made immeasurable sacrifices and contributions. Remembrance is our duty. We owe it to the fallen service members and their families who paid the ultimate price.

Enjoy the weekend with your friends and family while always keeping safety the top priority in everything you do- travel, recreational activities, landscaping, boating, etc. We have made tremendous progress over the past 18 months and I am so very proud of your accomplishments-  keep up the hard work!
I am honored to serve with you all.  All the best for a safe and happy Memorial Day.

Major General, VaARNG
The Adjutant General