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By virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution of Virginia in the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is hereby officially recognized:

Virginia National Guard 415th Birthday

WHEREAS, the Virginia National Guard traces its heritage and tradition of citizen-service to the May 14, 1607 founding of Jamestown when Captain John Smith organized the colonists for defense; and,

WHEREAS, military presence in Virginia has not ceased since to defend freedom at home and overseas with Virginia National Guard service in the American Revolution through the American Civil War to World Wars I and II and into Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm and the Global War on Terror; and,

WHEREAS, World War I marked the first time that volunteer state militia units were activated for federal duty under a formal Army structure and deployed overseas for combat operations; and,

WHEREAS, during World War II, soldiers from the 29th Division took part in the massive invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944, to be known forever as “D-Day,” and,

WHEREAS, more than 800 members of the 116th Infantry were killed, wounded or missing during the assault on Omaha Beach, but their courage and bravery helped create a foothold that allowed follow-on forces to continue the assault, liberate France and bring an end to Nazi tyranny; and,

WHEREAS, Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen served during Operation Desert Storm, and since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, more than 15,000 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have served on federal active duty in support of Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve; and,

WHEREAS, in the last 24 months, the utilization of the National Guard has been unprecedented with Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force providing critical support to the state's COVID-19 response, assisting civilian law enforcement during periods of civil unrest, as well as assisting state and local governments during hazardous weather response operations; and,

WHEREAS, National Guard Soldiers served with courage, honor and distinction, and that tradition continues today as National Guard personnel are deployed all over the world with more than 2,000 Virginia National Guard personnel currently mobilized for missions in the Middle East, Horn of Africa and Kosovo, the most since 2007; and,

WHEREAS, the Virginia National Guard could not perform its mission without the support of the civilian workforce, families, employers and communities around the Commonwealth;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Glenn Youngkin, do hereby recognize May 14, 2022 as the 415th BIRTHDAY OF THE VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of our citizens.