NORFOLK, Va. - During a ceremony Monday, speakers said West Point Cemetery was once forgotten, but the Daughters of the American Revolution have sought to spruce it up.
The group planted a garden and has recently cleaned off grave stones. On Memorial Day, dozens gathered for a wreath-laying ceremony. The cemetery is the final resting place for many, including African Americans who fought for the Union in the Civil War.
"I hope you remember our National Anthem because the National Anthem was born in adversity and was born in struggle. It speaks to the battle and how when the smoke was cleared there is one nation," said Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Dean of Norfolk State University's College of Liberal Arts, who spoke about the history of the cemetery.
The cemetery serving as a place to member those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. "We are here today to honor those who answered that call and said yes when their country needed them," said State Senator Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach), a Navy veteran.
Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D-2nd District) is also a Navy veteran.
"When you lose someone like that, someone who serves, and they're lost during their time serving our country and protecting our freedoms, it is just incredibly difficult," said Luria.
Luria is continuing to push for legislation to help those who have suffered exposures to toxic substances when serving overseas. She says their sacrifices may not always be thought of in the same way as others. "Some of those wounds are visible. Some those sounds are invisible, so those exposed to burn pits and cancers - those are invisible wounds, but ultimately they may die before their time based on their service to our country," said said.
As Taps played, the ceremony served as a solemn tribute to make sure the sacrifices of our veterans aren't forgotten.