PORTSMOUTH — Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) collaborated with the City of Portsmouth for its Memorial Day event honoring the fallen May 31.
As one of the oldest Memorial Day events in the country, this year’s was meant to be the City of Portsmouth’s 137th Annual Memorial Day Parade; however, with COVID-19 precautions still being observed, the city chose to once again downsize the event to ensure the safety of those in attendance.
The smaller-scale event consisted of a procession featuring the City of Portsmouth’s Honorable Mayor Shannon E. Glover, the Portsmouth Color Guard, and police and firefighter responders. The procession made its way to the High Street Landing Flagpole Stage and laid a wreath for the fallen. NNSY Shipyard Commander Capt. Dianna Wolfson joined Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Commanding Officer Capt. Lisa Mulligan and Commander Fifth Coast Guard District Rear Adm. Laura M. Dickey as speakers at the event, marking the first time in this momentous event’s history that the special guests are all women in the armed forces.
“Memorial Day is so significant to our Navy and our Nation,” said Capt. Wolfson. “I often talk to our team members at Norfolk Naval Shipyard about the importance of putting ‘shipyard ahead of self’ – meaning to prioritize the critical nature of our work ahead of our own interests, and to know we truly serve a cause so much greater than ourselves as individuals. Those devoted members who have lost their lives in defense of our Nation absolutely know the full gravity of putting service ahead of selves. Such a proud sense of duty was instilled in me at a very young age from my father who served in the United States Army. He taught me the significance of discipline, responsibility, and integrity. It’s important to remember those qualities on Memorial Day and how they apply to our fallen brothers and sisters. They had the discipline to understand their motives, to willingly sacrifice their lives to protect their families, their community, our country. They had the sense of responsibility to shoulder their burden with purpose and pride. They had the integrity to do what is right and honor their commitments to their dying breath.”
Capt. Wolfson continued, “I often talk at our shipyard about how critical our people are. That’s because it’s the people who make change. It’s the people who drive results. That’s so true with our fallen brothers and sisters as well – their sacrifices, tragic as they were, were not in vain. It’s their efforts that delivered democracy, drove back oppression, and showed us that while freedom isn’t free, it absolutely is priceless. Today, we must remember them, recognize their efforts, and reflect on how they model the most proud and patriotic qualities of the American citizenry.”
Mayor Glover said, “As we continue as a country to strive and work towards a more perfect union, it is incumbent upon each of us to never forget the reason that we all enjoy the freedoms is because of those brave men and women who sacrificed everything so that we could have their opportunities. Although we know our country is great, we continue to strive, we continue to grow, and we continue to evolve as a nation. Let us remember, today, let us be one, let us be together.”
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