CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice was joined by several state officials as he hosted a virtual ceremony today, celebrating Veterans Day in West Virginia.
“There are 137,000 Veterans in the state of West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “When I think about this day, I think of all those that are serving and protecting us right now. I think about a state that was always first to volunteer and first to serve. I think about the symbol of what today really is; the symbol of freedom and liberty for the entire world.
“Our Veterans have given so much – with some even paying the ultimate sacrifice – and yet, they ask for so little in return, it’s amazing,” Gov. Justice continued. “I’ve said over and over, we owe everything we have in this country to these great men and women, and we ought to appreciate them, especially today, but also every single day.”
The Governor was joined for the event by West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance Secretary Dennis Davis and West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. James Hoyer.
“Each Veterans Day is a day of remembrance we set aside to honor those who have defended our country in peace and in war,” Sec. Davis said. “Some gave a little. Some gave a lot. Some gave it all. We pledge never to forget the sacrifices they made for us.
“I would like to call upon all West Virginians to do something very important: pick up the phone and call a Veteran just to say hello,” Sec. Davis continued. “We don’t want you to visit right now with the pandemic. But you can call, or maybe send an email – just reach out to a Veteran and express your appreciation for what they’ve done.”
Sec. Davis also read a proclamation signed by Gov. Justice, officially recognizing today, Nov. 11, 2020, as Veterans Day in West Virginia.
“On behalf of the 6,400 men and women of the West Virginia National Guard and their families, I’d like to express our appreciation to all of our Veterans for the service and sacrifice that they’ve made on behalf of our nation,” Maj. Gen. Hoyer said. “I would ask us all today not to focus on the statues, the monuments, or the day itself, but on what’s behind the day; the many men and women – ordinary men and women – who made extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of others, in service of our nation, to protect and defend the freedoms of people that they did not even know.”
The ceremony featured a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by the Cabell Midland High School Marching Knights, the Pledge of Allegiance by Soldiers with the West Virginia National Guard, as well as a prayer by Rev. Ray Stonestreet; a former Marine and State Trooper.
The event was emceed by West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History Curator Randall Reid-Smith.
“It is a privilege to have this opportunity today to say thank you to the men and women of our armed forces and our veterans,” Curator Reid-Smith said. “Today, and every day, we are grateful for your service and your sacrifice.”
Gov. Justice concluded the event, which was held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, by calling on West Virginians to follow the example of Veterans across the state.
“We will get through this pandemic and whatever other adversity may come in front of us, and we’ll get through it because of the strength that these great people have instilled in every single one of us,” Gov. Justice said. “As we go forward, please be appreciative and keep all those that are serving and protecting us each and every day in your prayers, and please keep all those we’ve lost in your prayers as well.”