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Youngkin: Honor the fallen with a strong military and love of country

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(The Center Square) — A small crowd of veterans and their families gathered at Richmond’s Virginia War Memorial for the annual commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony, which included remarks from Gov. Glenn Youngkin and other proceedings.

The governor spoke on the value of the fallen’s sacrifice but also on what ordinary Americans can do to honor the lives of Virginians lost in the line of duty.

It is Virginians’ duty – not only to remember the cost of freedom on days like Memorial Day – but to commemorate it with their lives, according to Youngkin.

“It is our duty to be worthy of a hero’s sacrifice,” the governor said. “In a world where there is evil, in a world where enemies wish to do us harm, we must stand vigilant.”

Lawmakers and leaders can “stand vigilant” through public policy and practice that strengthens America’s military, according to Youngkin.

“We owe it to them to have the strongest military – built not to conquer but to defend. To protect and preserve the freedoms and liberties that we hold dear and often take for granted,” the governor said.

Everyday Americans, he continued, have a responsibility to take pride in their country and make it exceptional.

“We have a duty to be a nation of citizens who stands strong and sings our national anthem boldly and says our Pledge of Allegiance loudly and honors our flag daily. We owe it to them. We owe it to them to be a nation with no rivals.”

The ceremony briefly commemorated the addition of Private Charles Lewin of Norfolk’s name to the Virginia War Memorial. Lewin was part of the Normandy invasion, and researchers recently found that his name had been mistakenly overlooked.

The ceremony concluded with awarding a military scholarship to two Virginia high school students planning to enroll in ROTC programs and two college students pursuing a commission in the military and service medleys in honor of the fallen.

Virginia’s most recently passed state budget included a narrowing of eligibility criteria and changes to the enrollment deadline for the Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program, which caused many lawmakers—including a contingent from the governor’s own party—to call on Youngkin for some kind of remedy.

Youngkin issued an executive directive to convene a task force to review the changes and “consider further program changes and provide recommendations to address any unintended consequences of the reforms.”

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