Virginia World War I and World War II Commemoration Commission
Past Events Archive

June 06, 2019

"The Final Salute: D-Day Plus 75 Years" was our 2019 Signature Event marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. This program was one of the National D-Day Memorial's biggest educational undertakings yet, and its largest event since the national dedication in 2001. With 10,000 visitors in attendance, and nearly 100 WWII veterans. “The Final Salute” combined the best of the Memorial with the best of the D-Day story: a gathering of veterans and the general public at the nation’s memorial to the invasion of Normandy for reflection and remembrance – the story of ordinary people in extraordinary moments. We observed this 75th anniversary with six days of ceremonies, including a keynote address from Vice President of the United States Mike Pence, displays, interviews, and much more. 

November 11, 2018

On November 11, 2018, the Virginia WWI & WWII Commemoration Commission, the Virginia War Memorial, and the Virginia Department of Veterans Services honored Virginia's veterans at the Annual Commonwealth's Veterans Day Ceremony and commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I at the Carillon in Richmond, Virginia's state memorial to those who died in World War I. The ceremony featured a bell-tolling at 11:00 a.m, followed by a presentation of colors from the Virginia National Guard's WWI Doughboy Color Guard, music from the 392nd Army Band, student essay readings, and remarks from dignitaries, including Governor Ralph Northam, Speaker Kirk Cox, Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins, and Director of the Virginia War Memorial Clay Mountcastle. The afternoon Armistice Day Festival featured students' WWI-themed art submissions on display inside the Carillon along with dozens of displays from historical museums around the state. The afternoon also featured crafts and games, music from St. Andrew's Legion Pipe and Drums, a bell concert from carilloneur Larry Robinson, an antique car display, the Profiles of Honor Tour and more.

June 02, 2017

The Battle of Midway is often referred to as the "turning point" of the war in the Pacific. Six months after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Navy was preparing to deliver a decisive blow that would destroy the U.S. Navy and leave Japan the uncontested power in the Pacific. The Japanese set a trap hoping to catch what was left of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, but unbeknownst to the them, American commanders laid a counter trap. "The Tide Turns", a symposium hosted in partnership with the MacArthur Memorial and the Hampton Roads Naval Museum was held on June 2, 2017 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the battle, and featured lectures by experts, book signings, and commemorative exhibits. Watch the program, recorded by C-SPAN, by clicking on the link to this event's page.

April 06, 2017

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of America's entry into WWI, a ceremony was held at Virginia's official state memorial to World War I, the Carillon Tower at Byrd Park. Beginning with a concert of the Carillon’s bells just before noon, the program featured speakers including Governor Terry McAuliffe, Major General Timothy P. Williams of the Virginia National Guard and Dr. Lynn Rainville of Sweet Briar College. Music for the event was provided by the John Marshall Regimental Band Alumni. Delegate Kirk Cox, Chairman of the Virginia WWI & WWII Commemoration Commission, served as master of ceremonies.​

December 08, 2016

A tribute to World War II veterans, Dawn of Infamy: America Goes to War marked the 75th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War II on December 8, 1941. This event featured an Honor Parade of World War II veterans, remarks by dignitaries, and a keynote address from Pulitzer Prize winner and military historian Rick Atkinson, author of the New York Times best-selling Liberation Trilogy, a narrative history of America's role in the liberation of Europe during World War II. A special recognition ceremony was a key part of the program, during which each World War II Veteran in attendance received a commemorative medallion designed for the occasion. More than 80 WWII veterans, 100 active-duty military escorts, and hundreds of family and friends gathered to honor the men and women of the greatest generation for their service, while hundreds more participated at livestream viewing sites across the state.

May 25, 2016

In 2015, Dr. E. Bruce Heilman, who served in World War II as a young Marine during the battle of Okinawa, rode by motorcycle more than 6,000 miles from the East Coast to the West Coast to mark the 70th anniversary of the last and biggest battle of the Pacific Theater in WWII, which lasted 82 days (April 1 to June 22, 1945) and claimed the lives of 14,000 Americans and more than 250,000 Japanese. In 2016, in celebration of his 90th birthday and to recognize the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into World War II, Dr. Heilman recreated the cross-country motorcycle ride. In honor of the more than 2,000 who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dr. Heilman traveled through states that had namesake ships that were hit by bombs and torpedoes and lost crew members during the attack.

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