stafford memorial

Stafford will host a Memorial Day ceremony Friday at its Armed Services Memorial.

Stafford County will add to the Fredericksburg area’s multiple Memorial Day events this year with a ceremony Friday at the new Stafford Armed Services Memorial.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony, which starts at 9 a.m. at the memorial behind the George L. Gordon Jr. Government Center just off the Courthouse Road and U.S. 1. The event will feature the Stafford Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, Chaplain Jack Marcom and the placing of a wreath at the memorial. Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Meg Bohmke will speak.

“The mission of this memorial is to honor those who have served, are serving and their families, but Memorial Day is special in recognizing the ultimate sacrifice made by so few for so many,” said Supervisor Mark Dudenhefer, a Marine Corps veteran and member of the Armed Services Memorial Commission that created the memorial. “The best way to honor those brave men and women is by keeping their memory alive.”

The memorial was dedicated last July. It features bricks inscribed with the names of past and present service members and their families.

In a county release about the ceremony, Supervisor Gary Snellings recalled how, while serving in the Air Force in 1972, he was given a POW bracelet inscribed with the name of Capt. Glenn Cook, whose plane had shot down in Vietnam three years earlier. Cook was declared dead, but his body was never found, Snellings said.

“His family has never given up hope that he will be found. I will never take this bracelet off until he comes home,” said Snellings, who also served on the memorial commission. “That is the kind of sacrifice we are honoring.”

The Stafford event is the first of several scheduled in the Fredericksburg area over the Memorial Day weekend, including a tribute at Ellwood Manor in Spotsylvania County Saturday and the lighting of luminaria at the National and Confederate cemeteries in Fredericksburg Saturday night.

On Monday, there will be ceremonies at those cemeteries, Quantico National Cemetery and the Fredericksburg Area War Memorial, along with a procession from Riverfront Park to the Fredericksburg battlefield and a concert on the Mary Washington Hospital grounds and a ceremony at Quantico National Cemetery.

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