Veterans and members of the community gathered at a small ceremony at Colonial Williamsburg to honor veterans, as well as the “forgotten patriots,” for Veterans Day.
The Sunday afternoon ceremony, which also recognized the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, was attended by 150 people in the Governor’s Palace garden and hosted by the Williamsburg chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
The program focused on honoring all veterans and those in attendance, as well as the “forgotten patriots,” the 158 unmarked graves, 156 men and two women, in the palace garden from the American Revolution.
The program also emphasized the efforts of America’s French allies that fought for America’s independence during the American Revolution, such as Gen. Marquis de Lafayette.
Lafayette, played by Colonial Williamsburg character actor Mark Schneider, talked about Lafayette’s journey from France to fighting for the American Revolution and the sacrifices of French allies.
Col. Junius Lynch from World War I, played by Colonial Williamsburg character actor and great-grandson of Col. Lynch, John Lynch II, spoke of Lynch’s experience during the war as a surgeon general for the American Expeditionary Force who was stationed in France.
Veterans and organization representatives were front and center during the ceremony, such as the Williamsburg chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Children of the American Revolution.
Veterans recognized included 93-year-old World War II veteran Donald Kline, an Army staff sergeant who served from 1943-1946, and Maj. Gen. Craig Boice, who received multiple stars and medals and four Purple Hearts for his service. Both were in attendance.
Veterans in the audience were also recognized as event moderator Stephen McGuffin asked if those who have served or are serving would stand up, followed by rounds of applause.
Local Boy Scouts from Boy Scout Troop 1932 were a part of the ceremony, carrying Revolutionary War flags during the procession. The program ended with multiple honorary wreaths being laid in the garden.
Williamsburg resident and Air Force veteran John McCraw said he’s glad the ceremony recognized all veterans and patriots, including the forgotten French allies that fought during the American Revolution.
“Anyone that fought for America should be remembered and recognized and they did that with a lot of grace during the ceremony,” McCraw said. “It was very nice and well done and great seeing fellow veterans here.”
Fellow veteran and Williamsburg resident Duncan McIver, who served in the Navy during the Korean War said he enjoyed learning more about the French allies.
“I also really enjoyed the Lafayette actor and how he spoke about our French allies,” McIver said. “Then followed by the actor from World War I who had connections with Lafayette, it was very well done and different than your typical ceremony, in a good way.”
Luck can be reached at 757-291-2038, firstname.lastname@example.org or @ashleyrluck on Twitter