RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Veterans Day ceremonies and celebrations were in full swing on Friday in Richmond and across the nation to honor those who served and sacrificed for our country.
The 66th Annual Commonwealth’s Veterans Day Ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial celebrated and recognized those who served in the U.S. armed forces. Veterans of all branches of the military and from all across the commonwealth were present on Friday, Nov. 11, to show support and gratitude to each other.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin and military officers all expressed their appreciation to those in uniform.
“The commonwealth and the nation have one sentiment to express to all of you today. Thank you!” Youngkin said.
Harry Jaeger, a retired Navy veteran who served for more than 30 years, said being a veteran makes you part of something more.
“It’s so all the veterans can get together and share what they’re all about, that’s what it’s about — we’re all a community, we’ve been to war, we’ve done all things, would we do it again? You bet. That’s why we’re here.” Jaeger said.
Jaeger may have served his country for decades, but his ties to the U.S. military started quite a while before that.
“I had two uncles in the First World War. I had two teachers when I was going to school in the First World War. I had a brother-in-law and a brother in the military all during World War II. My wife had two brothers in the Army during World War II,” he said proudly.
Jaeger said he will never forget what his biggest sacrifice was, and, most importantly, how to get through it.
“Just time. Time being away from family and so forth. When you’re younger you don’t watch that so much, but if you stay in the program as you get older, you begin to realize, ‘why do I have to be away? I want to be with my family,” he said. “Well, after you retire, you’ve got it.“
Jaeger wants one thing from members of the community when they see veterans like himself.
“Just to appreciate who we were — and who we are — and what we’ve done. You have to want to go and that’s what’s important,” he said.
The ceremony at the War Memorial was followed by a military pinning, where new recruits paid their respects to those who made sacrifices.