Gov. McDonnell thanks VA National Guard

SANDSTON, Va. (WTVR) – While some remembered and honored the victims of 9/11 by performing community service – some politicians me with the men and women who have vowed to serve our country and protect our freedom. 

Some Virginia National Guard members received a special visit from Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell today.  He was joined by his wife Maureen, and Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff-Decker.

In the last 10 months we’ve seen the return of Virginia guard units from Iraq and Afghanistan where they’ve distinguished themselves for outstanding service. 

This morning Gov. McDonnell thanked about 60 guard members at the armory in Sandston. 

These men and women were recently named one of the top 15 units in the nation for readiness.  The governor referenced their help at home in Virginia in what he called the year of “earth, wind and fire.” That’s when the state experienced an earthquake, a hurricane and a Great Dismal Swamp fire.

Many guard members we talked with said the horrible events of 9/11 more than a decade ago were the reason they joined the guard.

“It’s a very important day to sit back and reflect on the events of the day 11 years ago”, said Lt. Andrew McMillion of Harrisonburg, Va. “It’s very motivating, and it’s an honor to serve my state like this.”

It was sentiment echoed by Sgt. Valerie Carrington of Hopewell.  “When I found out about 9/11 I was the first one, I’d like to say, who joined up to join the National Guard.  I was right there and I’ve been here for 10 years now,” she said.

With the return of approximately 30 soldiers out of Ft. Belvoir from Afghanistan in June, there are no Virginia Army or Air Guard units serving on federal active duty at this time.  However, the governor said the combat and support missions of the Virginia National Guard will continue, as long as there are forces that want to hurt the United States or its citizens.

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