The Stafford County Armed Forces Memorial dedication brought out hundreds of visitors and several veterans of World War II, along with armed forces members from other conflicts, on Saturday morning to the county’s Government Center.
The Quantico Marine Corps Band provided a musical introduction to the July 15 event and then retired Lt. Gen. Ron Christmas, the master of ceremonies, took command of the ceremony and welcomed guests, thanking all who made the memorial possible.
Stafford County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Ron Thayer offered the invocation.
Stafford County Supervisor Gary Snellings, an Air Force veteran, also made welcoming remarks and was overcome by emotions at the end of his speech.
Local veterans, from World War II through the current conflict who attended the ceremony were recognized.
The Virginia secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, retired Adm. John C. Harvey, spoke briefly and the Blue Star Mothers Choir of Fredericksburg Chapter VA 4 sang traditional patriotic songs.
The commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert B. Neller, commended the Armed Services Memorial Working Group, which oversaw the fundraising and construction of the memorial, for their work. He also stressed how important it was to remember those who sacrificed so much for our country.
Members of the family of the late Sgt. Donald Lamar II—his wife, parents and brother—joined others in the ribbon cutting to open the memorial. Neller presented sections of the ribbon to the family, who sparked the idea that led to the construction of the memorial after the death of the Marine in 2010.