Today, America observes Veteran's Day. We mourn those whom we have lost, thank those who have served, and keep in our prayers all who serve today.
I spent this morning participating in a small Veteran's Day ceremony at the Virginia Wall of Honor, located in the Main Street lobby of the Office of the Attorney General. We unveiled the Wall of Honor this past May. The Wall pays tribute to the Virginians we have lost serving in the Global War on Terrorism, from the attack on the USS Cole in October of 2000, to the present day. 138 Virginians are on the Wall. Sadly, we are now planning to add another 18 brave Virginians in January, heroes who have fallen in defense of our nation over the course of the 5 months since we unveiled the Wall. They are a stark reminder that the battle for freedom wages on.
As we go about our daily lives, running from work, to home, to school, it is all too easy to forget that we live in freedom because, at this very moment, young men and women bravely stand in the face of danger. These young men and women do so in Iraq and Afghanistan and in countless other locations across the world. Day in and day out, the defenders of freedom don't rest; they resist the constant onslaught of the forces of tyranny and destruction. We owe them everything, and that is exactly what so many of them have given in our defense.
At our event in Richmond this morning, I was joined by my good friend Master Trooper Darrell Bowling. Trooper Bowling lost his son, Jonathan, in an enemy ambush in Al-anbar Province, Iraq on January 26, 2005. I learned about Jonathan's heroism in a chance meeting with Trooper Bowling in Patrick County, and it was in that meeting that the idea for a Wall of Honor was born. Today, Trooper Bowling once again stared at the face of his son, forever enshrined on the Wall of Honor, in the shadow of Jefferson's Capitol. Jonathan Bowling was a patriotic son of Virginia. He was doing his duty, nothing less. And he paid the ultimate price.
I hope you will take some time today to reflect on the many sacrifices our men and women in uniform have made. If you are a veteran, know that you have earned the perpetual admiration of all who call America home.
God Bless America, and all those who have defended her from the fields of Yorktown to the streets of Baghdad.
[Attorney General Bob McDonnell is a U.S. Army veteran. His daughter is an active Army member.]
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