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World War II veteran, retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. John Elliott lays a memorial wreath at the WWII memorial site on 70th Anniversary of the end of WWII at the Quantico National Cemetery, Aug. 16. The event proclamation from the Prince William Board of County Supervisors read: The WWII generation created an array of organizations which helped to strengthen the American democracy by promoting civic engagement, volunteerism, and service to the community. The military and civilian personnel have provided a model of unity that serves as a source of inspiration to future generations of America to come together to work together to work for the continued betterment of the U.S.

Photo by Ida Irby

Quantico veterans honor the Spirit of ‘45

20 Aug 2015 | Ida Irby Marine Corps Base Quantico

The Spirit of ‘45 was alive during a wreath laying ceremony at the Quantico National Cemetery, Aug. 16. The international tribute celebrated the collective service of U.S. Citizens and honored the 70-year commemoration of the end of World War II.

National cemeteries across the country joined the Prince William Resolves Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution to host a ceremony in remembrance of WWII veterans. More than 11,000 WWII veterans are buried at the cemetery here.

“It is moving to think that tributes are in action around the globe to the men and women of WWII; individual ceremonies will be held where Americans sacrificed their lives for freedom, and here we are to continue that chain,” said guest speaker Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Marilla J. Cushman.

“Spirit of ‘45 national remembrance is a period of time when men and women of singular honor answered our Nation’s call in our moment of national peril. They served in faraway places to defend freedom and liberty,” said Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Richard Anderson, delegate from the 51st House District, located in Prince William County. “It is a distinct privilege to be here on this precious occasion.”

The mayor of Dumfies, Va., and retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gerald Foreman, read statics from the war: more than 60 million people were killed in WWII; and 25 million were service members. Of those more than 400 thousand American troops were killed. “These sacrifices of our veterans are not forgotten,” he said.

Prince William County is the home of thousands of veterans who have served our nation with distinction, honor, integrity, honesty and a spirit of service before self. This is an important occasion to honor the war that was fought by the greatest generation, continued Anderson.

“Military heritage is passed down; it is unwritten. It’s our ethics, ethos, and stamina,” said featured speaker Mayor Foreman. “I can’t say thank you enough to the service men and women who have paved the way before us.”

In attendance were WWII veterans retired U.S. Army Sgt. Charles Chapman, and retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. John Elliot.

“We honor those who have served and paid the ultimate sacrifice, which allows us to be here today; and for that we are honored,” said Donnie Sisk, director of the Quantico National Cemetery. “A country that doesn’t honor its veterans will soon have no veterans to honor.”

The ceremony was concluded with the playing of taps while Chapman and Elliot laid wreaths on the cemetery WWII memorial.

“What a fitting an extraordinary tribute to the men and women of the greatest generation,” said Cushman. “Sobering statistics hit home and help us to realize that freedom is not free.”
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