Prince George — It was standing room only in the upstairs of the Prince George Heritage Center as many gathered to honor those who fought and served in the U.S. military.
The Center hosted its annual Veterans’ Day event on Sunday, moving activities inside due to the cooler temperatures.
“This is the time for reflection of bravery and a new hope for peace,” said Supervisors Chairman Alan Carmichael as he welcomed guests inside the old courtroom. “Across this great country of ours, and throughout the world, Americans will pause today and remember the sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, who for more than 243 years, have secured our freedom by their duty, their honor and their selfless service.”
The celebration came around the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I with more than 100,000 Virginians serving in the war.
Providing remarks from World War I, military veteran and Petersburg National Battlefield Park Ranger Aaron Rowland mentioned local warriors like Wade Miller, Grover Pasley, Henry Thompson and Edwin Wrenn who deployed in support of their country from Hopewell and Prince George and died in service in the First World War.
They were among the more than 16 million military members who perished during four years of bloody conflict.
He and others who spoke at the event reminded those in attendance that many volunteers continue to serve as the U.S. has been at war for more than 17 years in Afghanistan and Iraq fighting the War on Terror.
“We now have the largest population of young veterans since the Vietnam War,” Fort Lee U.S. Army Chief of Transportation and School of Transportation Commandant Col. Jered Helwig said. “The population continues to grow with about one hundred and twenty thousand soldiers transitioning out of the Army each year. We owe it to these men and women to make sure they transition from the military service with the skills and experience to find meaningful employment.”
He explained that military members bring more to the table than their skills, they bring training and Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service and personal courage.
Helwig explained that future service will be impacted by the way veterans are treated today.
While urging support for veterans, the decorated officer quoted Gen. Creighton Abrams who said, “that people ‘aren’t in the Army, they are the Army.’ Our Army is people and our tanks and helicopters and formations are nothing without the trusted professionals who maneuver them.”
Helwig said today was the day to thank all of those who served from the minutemen who won our independence to today’s warriors deterring aggression around the world.
“They carry on the proud legacy and traditions of our nation’s veterans who have, throughout history, kept us free, returned home and continued to serve our nation in a multitude of ways.”
By Adrienne Wallace, Herald-Post Editor