By Sgt. Matthew FarwellMay 28, 2009
SUFFOLK, Va. (TRADOC News Service, May 25, 2009) -- White headstones in orderly rows shone brightly in the strong sunlight of Monday's Memorial Day Service at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Cemetery in Suffolk, Virginia.
Charlie Craft, head of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 2 who organized the service, thanked the overflowing crowd sitting under umbrellas to ward off the sun, for "taking the time to remember."
Craft then introduced "New Horizon," a gospel-based music group group of honorably discharged veterans in recovery from alcohol and drug addictions that formed in the Veteran's Hospital. Clad in black pants, grey blazers and berets, the men and women sang a rousing collection of classic American songs before moving into a gospel selection and brief rendition of each Service's song. Veterans in the audience stood as their service was recognized.
"That's a tough act to follow," noted Congressman Randy Forbes, of Virginia's 4th congressional district. Forbes then described the process of building the cemetery, one of two veteran's cemeteries operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia, reminding us that we must honor veterans by taking care of those who have never failed to keep our country safe.
Craft then introduced the keynote speaker, Command Sgt. Major David Bruner of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
"Memorial Day is a day on duty. Our duty today is to remember," Bruner told the audience, many of whom wore hats emblazoned with pins commemorating their service.
He continued his commemoration of those lost in defense of freedom and reminded the listeners of their duty to pay honor to the living.
"We are paying tribute [to servicemembers and veterans] by dedicating this as the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer, highlighting the central role Sergeants of all stripes play in defending our nation and keeping our Army Strong."
Following Bruner's remarks, wreaths from the Governor's Office, the Virginia Department of Veterans Affairs, World War II Veterans, Tuskeegee Airmen, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Disabled American Veterans, Korean War and Vietnam War Veterans and the American Legion were laid. Members of the Honor Guard from the 11TH Transportation Battalion from Ft. Story fired a 21 Gun Salute and the audience left to walk among the headstones and remember.