By Mr. Keith Desbois (U.S. Army CASCOM)April 29, 2016
Richmond, Va. -- Combined Arms Support Command personnel paid tribute to President James Monroe, the nation's 5th president, during a wreath-laying ceremony at Hollywood Cemetery, April 28. Monroe Family members along with state and local dignitaries, were in attendance and listened as Brig. Gen. Kurt J. Ryan, Chief of Ordnance and Ordnance School commandant, delivered remarks on behalf of President Barrack Obama.
"It is my distinct honor today to represent the President of the United States by laying a wreath at the tomb of this remarkable Patriot," Ryan said. "He devoted his life to the early development of our Nation, and helped us all in immeasurable ways secure the blessings of liberty that we all hold dear."
Some of Monroe's many accomplishments included being elected governor of Virginia twice; serving as U.S. minister to France, England and Spain; simultaneously holding the roles of secretary of state and secretary of war during the War of 1812; serving in the Virginia House of Delegates and elected to two terms as President of the United States.
Monroe fought in the American Revolutionary War, where he was injured with a musket ball to his shoulder during the Battle of Trenton. He studied law under Thomas Jefferson, was responsible for the Louisiana Purchase and the treaty for the acquisition of Florida from Spain.
In 1823, he announced the U.S. opposition to any European intervention with the Monroe Doctrine, which became a landmark in American foreign policy.
This year marks the 258th anniversary of Monroe's birthday. To pay homage to the nation's leaders, wreath laying ceremonies are held annually at the gravesite of each of the former presidents on their birthday. He was born in Westmoreland County, Va.
In Ryan's closing remarks, he asked the audience to ponder a couple of questions.
"What if 17 year-old James Monroe, student-turned-Soldier, had instead chosen to sit and watch the revolution from the comfort of William and Mary (University)?"
"How did Lt. Monroe's experience at Trenton shape his thoughts about democracy, common defense and securing of liberties for all Americans?" Ryan asked. "These are but a few of many questions that we should contemplate knowing that James Monroe truly changed the fabric of a fledgling democracy."