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NEWS | May 30, 2021

Remember the fallen: JBLE commemorates Memorial Day

By Staff Sergeant Joshua Magbanua 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. - Joint Base Langley-Eustis commemorated Memorial Day with a series of events from May 17 to May 27. The 733rd Mission Support Group and U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command worked together to organize the festivities.

The commemoration, known as "Remember the Fallen," included sports events, an obstacle course, a 5K run and a drill and ceremony contest by Advanced Individual Training students. The memorial observances culminated with a retreat ceremony at Seay Plaza and a concert by country artist Austin Moody at the TRADOC stage.

"Memorial Day is a day of national awareness and solemn reverence; a day for us to honor the men and women, who gave their lives in defense of our nation, its values, our freedoms and our liberties," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, Center of Initial Military Training commanding general and JBLE senior Army element commander.

The retreat ceremony began with Honors to the Nation, followed by the playing of Taps, folding of the United States Flag and firing if a cannon. Hibbard spoke about the importance of remembering and honoring the service members that have paid the ultimate price while in the line of duty.

"Each of us can help honor their memory by participating in the national moment of reverence, a call to voluntarily and informally pause at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, Memorial Day," said Hibbard. "Reflect on and remember those Americans who died in service to our Nation."

Gold Star families, immediate family of Service Members who lost their lives in service to our country, were in attendance.

"This Memorial Day, I hope that we can remember the link we have with all the generations that have gone before us, who selflessly served our country and paid the ultimate price," said Hibbard. "From the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq back to the American Revolution, our soldiers continuously put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and their fellow soldiers before their own. Memorial Day is a reminder of the true cost of war and a reminder to honor those who died while answering the call to serve our Nation."

Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day began in the wake of the American Civil War as a tribute to fallen Soldiers—commemorating their sacrifice while celebrating their triumph over the Confederate enemy. According to Time Magazine, one of the earliest of these observances took place in Charleston, South Carolina, where former slaves provided a proper burial to the bodies of Union prisoners of war.

Today, Memorial Day is a federal holiday commemorating all fallen troops.

"To me, Memorial Day is one of the most sacred holidays. We honor the people that gave their lives to keep us free," said Austin Moody. "My grandfather was a World War II Veteran. Memorial Day was always something that my family honored and celebrated."

Hibbard encouraged everyone in attendance, and those watching the events online, to take time this Memorial Day weekend to reflect on the price that our nation's heroes paid for our freedom in past and present wars.