The Virginia War Memorial Hosts the Annual Key Exchange Ceremony for Wreaths Across America in Partnership with J.B. Hunt Transportation Services
On Thursday, December 14, the Virginia War Memorial co-hosted a Key Exchange Ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial with our community partner J.B. Hunt Transportation Services.
The ceremony honored all who have served this county, particularly those who made the ultimate sacrifice. It recognized all those who participate in delivering wreaths to more than 2,500 veteran cemeteries across the country, most notably Arlington National Cemetery, as part of National Wreaths Across America Day, that took place on December 16.
The Virginia War Memorial first hosted this ceremony in December 2019, while the C. Kenneth Wright Pavilion was still under construction. This year’s event took place in the E. Bruce Heilman Amphitheater with the 53’ truck wrapped with a “Wreaths Across America” design, parked behind the stage. alongside a Richmond Firetruck displaying an American Flag.
Virginia War Memorial Director Dr. Clay Mountcastle opened the ceremony with welcoming remarks and introduced J.B. Hunt Representative Mark Hoover.
In his remarks Mark shared, “Every time that I participate in a Key Exchange I feel a little bit out of place because I don’t feel worthy of this honor. I miss my family when I go on work trips for days. It is hard for me to fathom what it is like to go away for months, years and with the prospect that I may never come home and see them again. It is that comparison and depth of thought that we all need to recognize during this holiday season. That during these times of strife and difficulty, we have freedom because of the ones that served before us. We must take pause even on our bad days and recognize that we are able to live this life of freedom because of those who serve.”
The event concluded with an exchange of vehicle keys between two drivers, and a bugler rendition of “Taps.”
Through the month of December, J.B. Hunt will deliver over 207,000 “veteran’s wreaths” to veteran cemeteries- across the county.
The “veteran’s wreath” consists of ten balsam bouquets, symbolizing ten qualities all veterans embody. The wreaths are tied with a red ribbon to symbolize a veteran’s sacrifice.
This ceremony is part of 38 similar key exchange ceremonies across the country. Refreshments were provided by the Virginia War Memorial Foundation in Veterans’ Art Gallery for the over fifty guests attending the ceremony.
During the holiday season, we thank all who attended this event and helped place wreaths at military cemeteries across the Commonwealth and across the world.