RICHMOND, Va. -- Every year on the anniversary of his birth, wreaths are placed at his gravesite serving as a reminder that this nation has not forgotten one of its Virginian-born forefathers.

On behalf of the U.S. president, Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge, Combined Arms Support Command commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. James E. Riddick, CASCOM's top noncommissioned officer, placed a red, white and blue flowered wreath in front of President James Monroe's tomb in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery Saturday.

"We honor the anniversary of President Monroe's birth … a Virginian and one of the true giants of American history," said Hodge during the ceremony marking the 254th anniversary of Monroe's birth.

Monroe was born in Westmoreland County, Va. He enlisted in the 3rd Virginia Regiment at the age of 18. On Christmas Eve in 1776, he crossed the Delaware River along with George Washington, the nation's first commander in chief. At the age of 24, Monroe was elected the first of three times to the House of Delegates in Richmond. Later, he continued his civil service and served two terms as the governor of Virginia.

During the War of 1812, Monroe was "dual hatted" and served as both secretary of state and secretary of war, said Hodge. Monroe was elected president of the United States in 1816 and re-elected in 1820. His presidency will be remembered most for the Missouri Compromise, treaties with Britain and Spain, and especially for the 1823 Monroe Doctrine.

"He was the last of the 'Virginia Dynasty' and the last of the 'Revolutionary Fathers' to occupy the White House," said Hodge. "In his lifetime, President Monroe contributed immeasurably to the building of this nation, and he established a remarkable record of service to the citizens of America."

After a long life of public service, Monroe died July 4, 1831, while living with his daughter in New York. His final resting place in Hollywood Cemetery is on a hill above the James River.

He was "revolutionary patriot to the end," said Hodge.

Less than a month ago, a similar ceremony took place a short distance away at President John Tyler's gravesite. To pay homage to the nation's leaders, ceremonies like this are held annually at the gravesites of each of the former presidents on their birthdays.