Virginia World War I and World War II Commemoration Commission
Tribute to Veterans
"Dawn of Infamy: America Goes to War"

Secretary John C. Harvey, Jr.

Admiral, U.S. Navy - Retired

John C. Harvey, Jr. a retired U.S. Navy Admiral, was sworn-in as Virginia’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security in January 2014. By legislation signed on March 3, 2014, Governor McAuliffe renamed and refocused Secretary Harvey’s post, which is now the Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs.  As Secretary, Harvey is responsible for the oversight of all veterans-related issues in Virginia, executed through the Department of Veterans Services, and ensuring that a productive relationship is maintained with the military services and Department of Defense activities located within the Commonwealth.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Secretary Harvey attended the Phillips Exeter Academy, received his BS in Political Science from the US Naval Academy in 1973, and received an MA in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in 1988. He and his wife, Mary Ellen, reside in Vienna, Virginia.

Rick Atkinson

Best-Selling and Pulitzer-Prize Winning Author and Military Historian

Rick Atkinson is a best-selling author, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Washington Post journalist. He is the author of the Liberation Trilogy, a narrative history of the liberation of Europe in World War II. The third volume of the series, The Guns at Last Light, quickly became a No. 1 New York Times best-seller. It was also named one of Washington Post’s “Top 10 Books of 2013.” The paper said, Atkinson weaves “a multitude of tiny details into a tapestry of sublime prose.” Journalist George Will praised the book as “history written at the level of literature,” and David Ignatius said it, “teaches the greatest lesson of all for the present, which is the need for patience and perseverance against obstacles.” Atkinson shares stories about what military history (both the good and the bad) teaches us about leadership.


The first volume of his Liberation Trilogy, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, received the Pulitzer Prize and was acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal as “the best World War II battle narrative since Cornelius Ryan’s classics, The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far.” The second volume, The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, drew praise from the New York Times as “a triumph of narrative history, elegantly written.” The final volume was similaly well received.


Atkinson’s many awards include the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for history; the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting; and the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for public service, awarded to the Washington Post for investigative articles directed and edited by Atkinson. He is winner of the 1989 George Polk Award for national reporting, the 1989 Morton Mintz Award for investigative reporting, the 2003 Society for Military History Distinguished Book Award, the 2003 Society for History in the Federal Government Henry Adams Prize, the 2007 Gerald R. Ford Award for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense, the 2009 John Reagan “Tex” McCrary Award at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and the 2010 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Most recently, he received the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize from the Society of Military History and the 2013 Adult Nonfiction Award from the Society of Midland Authors.

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