Nov. 17, 2011
Blackstone Rotary dedicates monument to Fort Pickett, veterans
By Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs
BLACKSTONE, Va. — At the corner of Main Street and Tavern Street, the Blackstone Rotary dedicated a monument Nov. 11 to commemorate the sacrifices of all military personnel and veterans, especially those who have trained at neighboring Fort Pickett.
Col. Tom Wilkinson, Fort Pickett Commander, and Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long Jr., Adjutant General of Virginia, attend the Blackstone Rotary Monument Dedication Nov. 11, in Blackstone, Va. The Veterans Day event revealed the monument erected to commemorate all military personnel and veterans, especially those who have trained, are training or will train at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)
Click HERE to see more photos on Flickr.
“May you remember the reasons that this monument has been erected and never forget the sacrifices of our military personnel who made this moment possible,” said Mike Clay, Rotary Club president.
The Community of Blackstone and Fort Pickett share a long history due to their close proximity, and the troops who have come through Fort Pickett over the years have helped shape the community around the base.
“From World War II to today, we estimate that this community has touched more than one million military personnel, said Col. Tom Wilkinson, commander of Fort Pickett. “Today we average about 120,000 troops coming through Fort Pickett every year.”
Many of the personnel who come to train at Fort Pickett are members of the community and serve in a citizen-soldier status. These National Guard men and women come from communities like Blackstone all across the commonwealth.
“Since 9/11 the National Guard had mobilized more than 480,000 Guardsmen,” Wilkinson said. “Of those mobilized, Virginia has contributed more than 14,000 Virginia Army and Air National Guard members. Today we have more than 1,300 members of the Virginia National Guard deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The monument reads, “DEDICATED THIS 11TH DAY OF NOV. 2011 TO ALL MILITARY PERSONNEL AND VETERANS AND ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO HAVE TRAINED, ARE TRAINING OR WILL TRAIN AT FORT PICKETT, BLACKSTONE, VIRGINIA.
“ERECTED BY GRATEFUL CITIZENS UNDER SPONSORSHIP OF THE BLACKSTONE ROTARY CLUB AND THE TOWN OF BLACKSTONE”