Contributed by Prince William County
Prince William Supervisors John D. Jenkins and Maureen S. Caddigan laid a wreath at the Prince William County War Memorial on Saturday, May 17 in honor and in memory of its armed forces veterans.
The wreath laying was part of Prince William County’s annual Armed Forces Day ceremony. The ceremony, which was held at the Government Center’s Freedom Park at 1 County Complex Court, was attended by county residents and staff.
Trumpeter Donna Flory opened the ceremony with the “Call to Arms” followed by the presentation of the colors by the Prince William County Public Safety Honor Guard.
Rev. Tim Perrin, Prince William Fire and Rescue Chaplain, offered a prayer after Malcolm Burke sang the “National Anthem.” Perrin, who noted that freedom was purchased with blood, prayed that people would remember that sacrifice. “We gather to thank you for all those who served in our armed services. Please protect those who are in harm’s way and be with all of their families. We, especially on this day, ask you to comfort those who have lost loved ones and friends. Today we stop and remember the great sacrifice that has been made on our behalf. Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for a friend.”
Jenkins spoke and remarked that the people of Prince William County would forever remember those whose names were engraved on the War Memorial. “Today we honor those whose names are engraved on the memorial and the family and friends they left behind. We also say a silent prayer today for the brave men and women throughout the nation who have been killed in action, wounded, or are still serving overseas protecting our freedoms.”
Randy Coker, a retired Marine Corps Master Sgt. and Post Commander of the Dale City Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 1503, was the final speaker of the afternoon, and stated that in addition to remembering those who have gone before, “Today is about those young men and women right now who are doing what they do to let us do what we’re doing right now. Armed Forces Day is about honoring those who are out there on the front lines.”
Coker reminded those present that fighting men and women do not know what the day might bring, but they defend the country despite the uncertainty. “They don’t know their fate, but they love what they do because they love their country. When we leave here we should take a little time out of our day to go seek out that young veteran, that old veteran, it doesn’t matter, and thank them for their sacrifice.”
Maj. Steve Cochran with the Prince William Fire and Rescue Department and retired fire and rescue lieutenant Steve Boulton ended the ceremony by playing “Amazing Grace.”