Virginia war heroes reflect at Memorial Day ceremony: ‘Every death is truly a sacrifice’

RICHMOND, Va. -- Dozens gathered at the Virginia War Memorial Monday for the 63rd Commonwealth's Memorial Day Ceremony.

"We pause on Memorial Day to remember and honor all that have died fighting for our freedoms," Governor Ralph Northam said during his address.

War heroes like Bob Bluford were in the crowd.

The 101-year-old served as a pilot of a B-24 that made many missions over Germany in World War II. Bluford knows, personally, that freedom comes at a cost.

"Bombing Germany... it wasn't exactly a picnic," said Bluford.

Since the war, Bluford has gone on to accomplish much -- and impact many lives.

"You were selected by the newspapers in Virginia to be the Virginian of the Year a few years back, you’re the founder of the historical Pole Green Association, and you're a mighty lucky man because you’ve gotten past the age of 100 and still walking," Roger Dickinson, a longtime friend, said. "He's an American hero."

Monday, crowds honored war heroes like Bluford -- but above all -- they remembered the ones who didn’t get to live 100 years. They remembered the ones who never came home.

"Every name on that wall was a person with hopes and dreams, plans for their lives. They gave it all up," Governor Northam said. "Every death is truly a sacrifice."

Memorial wreaths were placed individually inside the shrine at the Virginia War Memorial. The ceremony finished with a rifle salute.

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