Williamsburg Memorial Park to Honor Veterans in Global Remembrance Event

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(Photo courtesy of Williamsburg Historical Park)
Twenty-nine World War II veterans will be on hand during Sunday’s ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Williamsburg Memorial Park)

Williamsburg Memorial Park will be one of more than 2,000 locations around the world that will take part in the longest continuous wreath laying ceremony in history.

The wreath laying ceremony, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sunday, is being held in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of the ending of World War II.

Starting at the America National Cemetery in the Philippines, wreath laying ceremonies will be held across the globe until the final wreath is laid at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.

Williamsburg’s ceremony, which is free and open to the public, looks to honor those who lost their lives in the war and the living veterans who put their lives in harm’s way.

On hand at the ceremony will be 29 World War II veterans who fought in the Battle of the Bulge during which the U.S. suffered its highest number of casualties for any operation during the war.

The 29 veterans in attendance are part of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, a group started in 1981 that normally meets as a whole in December in conjunction with the ending of the Battle of the Bulge.

This year, however, the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge will be holding their annual meeting over the weekend in Williamsburg in order to participate in the global wreath laying.

“VBOB selected the weekend of August 14 through 16 specifically to participate in the 70th anniversary commemorative weekend events,” said Col. Alan Cunningham, who serves as the group’s president.

Sponsored by the Spirit of ’45, “a nonprofit, nonpartisan initiative to preserve the legacy of the men and women of the Greatest Generation,” Williamsburg’s wreath laying ceremony is expected to be in a similar style to Williamsburg Memorial Park’s annual Memorial Day celebrations.

Angela Byrum, the general manager of Williamsburg Memorial Park, said the ceremony is expected to last roughly 45 minutes and will feature a guest speaker from Ft. Eustis, patriotic music, a presentation of flags and the playing of taps, which is usually played at military funerals.

For Byrum, Sunday’s events are important not only to those veterans in attendance who have served in the U.S. military, but for everyone.

“I think that any time we as a community can celebrate those that paid the ultimate price for our freedom, it’s important,” she said, “It’s an appreciation for what they’ve done and continue to do. Our community is very connected to the military with a lot of folks serving or who have served. It’s a chance to honor those who didn’t come home and who came home wounded, and also those who came home after their service.”

For more information about Sunday’s event, click here.