RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Hundreds of military families and their supporters gathered at the Virginia War Memorial Monday to honor the men and women who died serving their country.
The memorial lists the names of the 12,000 Virginians who never made it home from war. This year, six more service members' names were added to the wall during the 58th annual Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony.
The riverside site is dedicated to remembering the cost of freedom and those who paid the ultimate price.
“This in truth should be a day for all Americans,” one speaker at the event said. “We are humbled by the tremendous courage shown by our brave sailors, soldiers, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen throughout our history and by those still serving today.”
CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns met a 94-year-old veteran who took time to honor those with whom he served who did not make it home.
“This saved about 2,000 lives,” Russell Scott said as he held a coffee tin similar to the ones he used to create makeshift stovepipes during Word War II. “If we hadn’t had these, we wouldn’t have had heat,” he said.
Scott, who was held prisoner in Germany for more than a year, outfitted the entire compound with the pipes because the camp did not have heat.
Scott survived a plane crash as well as being held captive for 400 days along with gruesome injuries in service. But he made it back to the US and now volunteers his time.
“It sort of bothers me when I speak of someone that I knew that was in service and didn’t make it back,” Scott said.
Jon Hatfield, the Virginia War Memorial‘s executive director, said Scott's story exemplifies the types of sacrifices our service members make for liberty.
“Those 12,000 names, and looking at Russell, that tells the story of what it costs to live in a free country,” Hatfield said.