It’s fitting that one of the main Memorial Day ceremonies in the region was held at VFW Post 9501 in Aylett.
The Post itself sits on land donated by the Pollard family, who had four sons serve overseas, one of whom, Davie Pollard, was killed in action. Behind the building is the local war memorial, with the names of over 200 veterans from Caroline, Essex, Hanover, King & Queen, King William and New Kent counties filling five of the monument’s six memorial markers.
According to Post Commander James “Poppy” Brown, it’s proof that the connection to the fallen runs deep in the community, something that the Veterans’ Memorial Service tried to reflect.
“Each year, the ceremony we hold here gets bigger and more inclusive. The community has seen what we’re doing because this is a celebration of our very best,” said Brown. “People from this county, and the surrounding counties, we’re like one big family, and when you look at the names of those men on the monument here, those are our friends, our fathers, our brothers, our sons, and we as a community, we mourn that family, not just on Memorial Day, but every day of the year.”
You can see those connections in the Post’s ceremony. The colors were posted by members of the King and Queen Central High School JROTC, the names listed during the memorial roll call came from residents of towns as far as West Point and Bowling Green.
Guest speaker Caroline County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Moser shared his thoughts, “From the first shots fired at Lexington and Concord to battlefields abroad from Normandy to Afghanistan, some things are bigger than the individual, and few know that more than our men in the military.
“Many of them did not seek to fight but were ordinary men, who responded to terrible times in heroic fashion, who were asked to leave their homes so they may defend it, even if some may never return — it’s those men, the ones who died far from home, that we come here today, to honor their sacrifice, today and every day.”
It’s a sacrifice that after 6 years in the Marine Corps, and then 20 in the US Army, Herb Jones is very familiar with. Jones, who was at the ceremony in King William, is running for the Virginia Senate in the 3rd District this year.
“On this very day, 52 years ago, one of my best friends was killed, we graduated together, we joined the Marines together, and then he was killed in action, the only casualty from King William County of the entire war,” he said. “That’s what this day is all about, honoring those who made the sacrifice, and those no longer with us, because as long as we remember them, they’ll always be a part of our community.”
Sean CW Korsgaard can be reached at 757-968-1529, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter @SCWKorsgaard.