Members of the community, county staff and officials gathered at Prince William County's War Memorial in Freedom Park on Tuesday to honor veterans and those currently serving in the Armed Forces. The ceremony was a joint commemoration of Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day, which both fall in May.
Armed Forces Day is to recognize those in the military and to thank them for their service. Memorial Day is set aside to remember those who fell in service to the country.
Chairman of the Board of County Supervisors, Corey Stewart, spoke at the ceremony and said that, while most people go about daily life, it's important to remember those who sacrificed so much. "For those whose loved ones died in service to their country, there will always be an empty chair at holiday gatherings and celebrations, a blank space in family pictures, and a loss that never truly goes away."
Stewart went on to say, "That is why, each year, we gather here in recognition of Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day. To honor the estimated 42,587 veterans and more than 6000 active duty armed forces members that call Prince William County home. To recognize all those who have made and those that continue to make sacrifices for our great nation and the freedoms we hold so dear. And we also honor and remember those family members left behind, to let them know that they are not alone."
Bugler Donna Flory played a call to order to begin the event followed by Jennifer Decker singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America" later in the ceremony. Flory sounded "Taps" to conclude.
For those who were unable to attend the ceremony, a video of the event will be available on the county’s YouTube channel .
Freedom Park is located at the Prince William County Government Complex just off the Prince William Parkway (1 County Complex Court, Woodbridge, VA). The War Memorial is a black granite monument that lists the names of all county residents who lost their lives while serving in war starting from World War I to present day. There are currently 124 names on the monument. Freedom Park also includes a memorial fountain dedicated to those in the community who died in the attacks on Sep. 11, 2001.