FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
The words may have reached their audience differently, but the sentiment behind Defense Logistics Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams’ keynote address at the Virtual Memorial Day Observance at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, came through May 21.
Only a handful of people witnessed the indoor event in person due to Department of Defense health protocols calling for small gatherings and social distancing. A much larger audience watched the ceremony on the garrison’s Facebook Live site from computers and phones.
Army Col. Michael Greenberg, garrison commander, welcomed guests and viewers.
“During this unprecedented time, we have remained resilient,” he said. “We will make use of technology so that we can continue the tradition of showing respect and gratitude to those who have fallen in service to this nation.”
Greenberg introduced Williams, who remarked how Fort Belvoir, as a critical military installation, was setting the example by showing that it is important to safely revisit the values and traditions of Memorial Day even during the pandemic.
After remarking that more than one million Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation, Williams continued by saying that how they died was not as important as how they lived.
“In life, these individuals served a higher purpose.” he said. “They embodied the most important values of our nation. On Memorial Day, we are reminded how important it is to defend those values.”
Williams concluded his remarks by commenting on the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that America has faced this level of adversity and more in the past and that we can draw some lessons from the Greatest Generation, which included his grandfather, father and several uncles who served in World War II.
“As Americans, we are a resilient people and we don’t back down from a challenge,” he said. “We are in the fight and we will win – but we need to show the same resolve and willpower our grandparents possessed as we go forward, carefully and confidently, until we have this problem solved.”
View the video above or on Fort Belvoir's Facebook page.
Fort Belvoir is located in Northern Virginia and is home to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Missile Defense Agency, and the Defense Logistics Agency, and many other military and defense entities. With about 2,100 residents living on base, the installation provides jobs for more than 42,000 military, civilian and contract employees, making it the largest employer in Fairfax County.