I hope our recent April ‘showers’ bring May flowers and all will have the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the warming weather. April was the Month of the Military Child and May brings Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day–two days on which we honor our active duty military members and those veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Initial information on Armed Forces and Memorial Day events is included in this update along with some events coming up prior to these dates that may be of interest to veterans. I was also honored, as the Chairman of the WWI and WWII Commemoration Commission, to be able to present medallions to WWII veterans at the National Convention of the Legion of Honor. There is an article included in this update on that event.
Colonial Heights Profiles of Honor Tour
The Colonial Heights Chamber of Commerce hosts The Virginia WWI and WWII Profiles of Honor Tour in Colonial Heights on 4-6 May. The tour vehicle will be located at Colonial Square Shopping Center, 3107 Boulevard, Colonial Heights Virginia 23834. The mobile museum, which is free and open to the public, features stories and artifacts from dozens of Virginians who served in World War I and World War II, as well as a full-scale model of an M5A1 Stuart tank. The tour, which brings to life Virginia’s integral role in world history, is part of a statewide commemoration marking the 100th anniversary of World War I and the 75th anniversary of World War II.
The Colonial Heights American Legion Post 284 Color Guard will close the tour at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, 6 May, followed by a community picnic with the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 284 providing free hot dogs. I am pleased to be the Chairman of the WWI and WWII Commemoration Commission and invite everyone to attend this event and enjoy the mobile museum. Visitors are invited to bring their own WWI or WWII-related photographs/documents to be scanned for inclusion in the Virginia Profiles of Honor project. This partnership with the Library of Virginia will help preserve the documents and stories of of our veterans for generations.
National Drug Take-Back Day
Opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose are a public health crisis in Virginia and around the country and were a serious issue for the General Assembly this past session. On Saturday, 29 April, many police departments across the country, in cooperation with U.S. Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration, will participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Prescription Drug Take-Back Day addresses one of America’s deadliest hazards – unused, unneeded or outdated medications found in bathroom cabinets, kitchens and bedside tables in nearly every home across the country. During the take-back these can be turned in for proper disposal-no questions asked.
The Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Chesterfield County, and Dinwiddie County Police Departments will participate as will the Provost Marshall’s Office at Fort Lee. For the specific turn-in location nearest you click here or call 1-800-882-9539.
Legion of Valor National Convention
The Legion of Valor is the oldest military service organization in the United States being founded in 1890 as the Medal of Honor Legion and charted by Congress in 1955. It was created to promote patriotic allegiance to the United States, fidelity to the U.S. Constitution, and popular support for civil liberties and the permanence of free institutions. Its membership is open to recipients of the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross and the Air Force Cross.
Del. Cox presents WWII veteran and DSC recipient Lt. Col. (Ret) Wally Gallant with WWI/WWII Commemoration Commission & special 2017 Legion of Valor Convention medallions.
This year their national convention was held in Newport News and I was honored to be asked by their current National Commander, Richard Rinaldo (DSC-Vietnam), to attend their annual banquet and present WWII veterans with medallions honoring their service on behalf of the WWI and WWII Commemoration Commission. In addition to the banquet and many other activities in the local area, the attendees had the opportunity to visit the Profiles of Honor Tour vehicle and submit their memorabilia as appropriate.
National Military Appreciation Month
In 1999 Senator John McCain introduced legislation to designate the month of May, National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM). Both the Senate and House of Representatives adopted resolutions calling for Americans to recognize and honor U.S. Service Members during NMAM. These proclamations also urged the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe NMAM.
National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM) is celebrated every May and is a declaration that encourages U.S. citizens to observe the month in a symbol of unity. NMAM honors the current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those who have died in the pursuit of freedom. The month of May is characterized by six national observances which highlight the contributions of those who have served:
Loyalty Day, Sunday, May 1st, kicks off our Nation’s month-long celebration of military appreciation. It is a day set aside for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and to reflect on the proud heritage of our American freedom.
Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW), Sunday, May 7th – Saturday, May 13th, is a time set aside to honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees and ensure that our government is the best in the world.
Victory in Europe Day, AKA V-E Day or VE Day, Monday, May 8th, is the day the Germans throughout Europe unconditionally surrendered to WW II Allies.
Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Friday, May 12th, (traditionally the Friday before Mother’s Day) is a day to honor military spouses with appropriate ceremonies and activities. It recognizes the important role our military families play in keeping our Armed Forces strong and our country safe.
Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20th, is a day to honor everyone currently serving in the U.S. Military branches; Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, and a day citizens are encouraged to thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.
Memorial Day, Monday, May 29th, is the Federal holiday to honor the men and women who died while in military service defending our freedoms and way of life.
For more detailed history, major national events planned, and other information on each of the events of NMAM, click on each of the holidays that is highlighted above. For military and veteran benefits listings available on these days (and for some all year-round) click here.
Armed Forces Day
President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish this as a single day for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country. The one-day celebration then stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense. It was on August 31, 1949, that Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force Days. Parades, open houses, receptions and air shows were held to celebrate the first Armed Forces Day held on May 20, 1950. In 1962 President John F. Kennedy established Armed Forces Day as an official holiday. This year Armed Forces Day will be celebrated on Saturday, 20 May. Here are a few events that have been announced so far:
There will be a patriotic themed 5K Run/Walk and Youth Fun Run at the National D-Day Memorial (3 Overlord Cir, Bedford, VA 24523) on Armed Forces Day. Registration and events begin at 6:30 a.m. Online registration has begun. Online registration and more detailed information can be found here or by calling (540) 586-3329 or e-mailing email@example.com.
Relay for Life (Dinwiddie) runs from 1600-2200 on Armed Forces Day and veterans are encouraged to also walk in the Veteran’s Lap and attend the reception at 1700. The event will take place at the Dinwiddie High School practice track at 11501 Boisseau Road, Dinwiddie, VA. POC is Kerry Shell at 804-469-4073 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information or to register click here.
VAMC Salem will hold their 17th Annual Armed Forces Day parade beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Armed Forces Day. This parade is in honor of hospitalized veterans and starts at the VAMC and ends at the Veterans Care Center. For more information or to participate contact email@example.com, call 540-224-1919, or click here.
An Armed Forces Day Concert at the Colonial Forge High School Theater (550 Courthouse Rd, Stafford, VA 22554) is to be presented by the United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own”, on Sunday, 21 May at 3:00 p.m.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.
The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South honored their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363).
Several local events planned for observing Memorial Day are highlighted below:
VFW Post 2239 (lead) in conjunction with American Legion Post 284 will hold the Memorial Day Ceremony for the City of Colonial Heights and surrounding area Monday, 29 May at 9:00 a.m. at the War Memorial on the Boulevard (between Lee and Lafayette Avenues). Parking is available behind the Court House. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be conducted in the Post 284 Home (505 Springdale Avenue, Colonial Heights). There will be a reception following the ceremony at Post 284. For more information, E-mail the American Legion Post 284 Adjutant at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Post at 804-526-4167.
The Virginia War Memorial will co-host a Memorial Day ceremony with the 11th District of the American Legion, Department of Virginia, at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, 29 May. The ceremony will honor and remember all veterans who gave their lives to preserve our freedoms from the Revolutionary War to today’s conflicts. The Galanti Education Center will be open extended hours during the weekend with other special activities. For more information click here.
American Legion Posts 242 and 144 will hold their Memorial Day commemoration event on Monday, May 29th. Activities begin with the placing of flags on veteran graves at the Seven Pines National Cemetery and then a Veteran Recognition Ceremony will be held at the Cemetery at noon. The 9th Annual Sandston Memorial Day Parade begins at 1:00 p.m. The parade starts at the Seven Pines Elementary School on Beulah Road and proceeds down Williamsburg Road through Sandston to Confederate Avenue. After the parade their will be festivities, food and entertainment on JB Finley Road hosted by the Sandston Recreation Association & Sandston Youth Association in cooperation with Henrico County Recreation & Parks. For more detailed information contact Bob Wade, Parade Master at (804) 317-1880, email@example.com, or click here.
In closing, you can contact me at my district office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 804-526-5135, by US mail – PO Box 1205, Colonial Heights, VA 23834 – or by stopping by my Colonial Heights office at 250B East Ellerslie Avenue. I appreciate your views on legislation that will help me do a better job for the people I represent.
Please visit my Facebook page and my Twitter page. These pages, along with my website, have information/links to the 2017 General Assembly Session to include my 44 pieces of legislation, visitors’ photos, my legislative survey, videos of floor remarks, and related topics.
Please forward this Update to your fellow veteran friends and neighbors.