GROTTOES — Years ago, with the town lacking an annual Memorial Day ceremony, Bill Martin and seven of his fellow Grottoes-area veterans got to work.
This year, the group held its 10th annual ceremony.
“It’s respect for our fallen comrades,” said Martin, 73, who served in the Army in Vietnam from 1966-67. “They gave their lives for our freedoms.”
The ceremony Monday was held in front of the town’s Veterans Memorial, located at Grottoes Town Hall.
The memorial, built in 2008, features more than 500 bricks engraved with the names and information of veterans who served from the Civil War to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During the ceremony, the names of those killed in action were read out loud.
The list included Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Bubb, who grew up in Grottoes, and was killed in combat in Iraq on Oct. 17, 2005, the day before his 20th birthday. Bubb is the most recent name to be added to the list.
Ret. Lt. Col. Jim Justis, 77, of Grottoes, said he’s grateful for those who sacrificed.
Ret. Brig. Gen. Teresa Djuric served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker.
After 20 years of service in the Air Force, Djuric retired in 2013. At the time she was serving as deputy director, Space and Intelligence Office, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics at the Pentagon.
She now serves as the commandant of cadets for the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership at Mary Baldwin University, in Staunton.
Djuric told several dozen people gathered to not only remember those that have sacrificed, but to also remember their families.
“For them, everyday is Memorial Day,” she said.
The event also featured a U.S. Flag retirement ceremony by Boy Scout Troop 81 in Crimora.
Scoutmaster Tom Shephard said it’s a learning experience for his troop.
“We’re trying to teach respect, and that it is not just another day off,” he said.