June 5, 2008

Virginia holds "Wall of Honor" ceremony

By Capt. Dayna Rowden
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

Maj. David A. Kaulfers, operations officer of 91st Troop Command, reads names of fallen Virginians at the Wall of Honor Ceremony. (Photo by Capt. Dayna Rowden, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

RICHMOND – Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, Virginia’s Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr., and hundreds of family members of Virginia’s fallen, honored the Virginians who have died in the Global War on Terrorism at the second annual Wall of Honor Ceremony held in Richmond May 22.

The ceremony, held on the South Portico of the Virginia Capitol, honored the 170 Active, Guard and Reserve Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Coast Guard personnel, Marines and Central Intelligence Officers who have been killed in action since 2001.

“The names inscribed on this wall were ordinary Virginians who made extraordinary sacrifices for our Commonwealth and our country,” said Newman in his speech. “The men and women who wear the uniform of our nation do so freely. Each willingly takes an oath with the full knowledge that the fulfillment of that oath might well cost them their lives. I thank God for such men and women.”

Over 100 Servicemen and women representing all branches of the military were present at the ceremony to serve as escorts and honor guards and to show their support for the fallen.

1st Sgt. Scott Cauley of Hotel Battery 314, 4th Marine Division, Marine Corps Reserve, served as the staff non-commissioned officer in charge of the 82-member honor detail. Cauley, who has also deployed five times, serves as casualty action officer. Many times he had to bring the news to a family that their son or daughter would not be coming home.

“I work with an incredible team,” said Cauley of his fellow Marines. “It means a lot to me to see the families again and to see how they are doing. I know this means a lot to them too.”

As an act of remembrance to honor the fallen heroes their names were read aloud. As the names were read, four UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from the Virginia National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation conducted a fly over.

Master Sgt. Peter J. Marshall, from the Air Force Reserve 710th Combat Operations Squadron, had served with the Virginia National Guard in the 276th Engineer Battalion. He volunteered to be a reader of the names of the fallen heroes. Three Soldiers from that unit were on that list.

“It is important to carry on those names in our memories,” said Marshall. “For me personally it was important to hear those names of my fallen friends. When I hear their names, I think about the sacrifices the families have had to make.”

The Wall of Honor was inspired by Virginia State Police Master Trooper Darrell Bowling. His son, United State Marine Corps Corporal Jonathan Bowling, was killed in Al-Anbar Province, Iraq on January 26, 2005. The Office of the Attorney dedicated the Hall of Honor in the Main Street Lobby of the Pocahontas Building in 2007.

“A nation should be judged not only by how and why it sends its young people off to battle, but also by how it welcomes them home, and how it remembers those who sadly did not return,” said McDonnell. “Today, citizens of a grateful Virginia extend their personal appreciation to the families of the Virginians who have not returned from the mission upon which they were sent. We mourn their loss, but at the same time we celebrate their heroism and their duty to Commonwealth and country.

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