Virginia’s four-year commemoration of the 75th anniversary of World War II and 100th anniversary of World War I came to a close on Sept. 2 with the Virginia WWI and WWII Commemoration Commission’s final virtual event in Norfolk, “A Better World Shall Emerge,” commemorating the end of WWII.
Alongside partners across the state, the commission has worked since 2016 to honor veterans and to help Virginians uncover and explore their own connections to both wars.
The Alleghany Highlands was one of many partners across the state that joined in commemorating these anniversaries. Numerous events were held in the region over the course of the four-year commemoration with amazing support from the local community.
Thousands of hours of volunteer time were put in with over 25 different local organizations also pledging support to help the local community commemorate these historic anniversaries.
“The Virginia World War I and World War II Commemorative Commission reminded all citizens of the terrible consequences of armed conflicts,” said local veteran Dr. Paul Linkenhoker. “It gave us an opportunity to remember and recognize the sacrifices and contributions of veterans and their families in securing and preserving our freedom”
The commemoration was coordinated by the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism with the help of many local volunteers and organizations.
A number of well attended events were hosted, including two stops by the Profiles of Honor Mobile Tour, which is housed in a 36-foot trailer, featuring stories and artifacts from dozens of Virginians who served in World War I and World War II, as well as a full-scale model of an M5A1 Stuart tank.
The mobile tour was part of the Stars and Stripes Festival in Clifton Forge July 3-4, 2017, as well as Heritage Day festivities in 2019.
Other events included a live streaming of “Dawn of Infamy — America Goes to War,” a WWI and WWII multi-museum statewide teacher symposium at the Historic Masonic Theatre, a luncheon for local veterans and several programs at the Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day and Railway Festival.
“The Alleghany High-lands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism coordinated the focus on efforts by our community to pay special tributes to not only WWI and WWII veterans but to all who have served our country,” Dr. Linkenhoker added. “Many volunteers spent thousands of hours on this effort.
“Our local governments, non-profit organizations and local VFW posts all supported the commemoration,” he continued. “On behalf of all veterans, we salute the people of the Alleghany Highlands.”
The following local organizations were involved in the commemoration: Alleghany County, Clifton Forge, Covington, Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts 1033 and 4299, Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day Committee, Alleghany Historical Society, Alleghany Highlands Genealogical Society.
Also: The McClinton Foundation, Clifton Forge Main Street, Olde Town Covington, Historic Masonic Theatre, Alleghany High-lands Arts Council, Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center, Clifton Forge School of the Arts, Quilts of Valor Organization, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys Home of Virginia, Coving-ton-Hot Springs Rotary Club, Clifton Forge Shrine Club and community churches.
The chamber also ex-pressed it appreciation to the efforts of each volunteer who devoted so much of their free time to the commemoration.
Those include Dr. Paul Linkenhoker, Bill Atherholt, Kenny Lowman, Floyd Lane, Inna Henderson, Shelly Mongold, Kara Asboth, Sam Hale, John Strott, Historic Masonic Theatre, Alleghany High-lands Heritage Day Committee, members of the VFW, VMI Cadets, Carter Asboth, Grayson Siers and the Quilts of Valor Group.
A special thanks was also extended to Shelly Mongold for her efforts in compiling the list of local veterans who served during each world war.
The chamber also encourages the public to participate in the Doughboy Foundations Bells of Peace initiative, designed to create a national bell-tolling at 11 a.m. local time on Nov. 11 each year as a WWI Armistice Centennial remembrance.