Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement today as Virginians plan to observe Memorial Day across the Commonwealth Monday.
"As Virginians plan to observe Memorial Day with friends and family members, we must remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we enjoy. Sadly, we add 20 additional Virginia heroes who have sacrificed their all in the ongoing war on terror. Their names have been added to Virginia's Wall of Honor in the Shrine of Memory at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.
These include from the United States Army Chief Warrant Officer Five John C. Pratt from Springfield, Private First Class Vincent J. Ellis from Suffolk, , First Lieutenant Stephen C. Prasnicki from Roanoke, Staff Sergeant Raul Madrigal Guerra from Norfolk, Staff Sergeant Brandon R. Pepper from Greenbackville, Staff Sergeant Jessica M. Wing from Alexandria, Staff Sergeant Jonathan P. Schmidt from Petersburg, Sergeant Robert J. Billings from Clarksville, Sergeant Aaron X. Wittman from Chester, Sergeant David J. Chambers from Hampton, First Lieutenant Robert J. Hess from Fairfax; from The United States Marines Lance Corporal Niall W. Coti-Sears from Arlington, Staff Sergeant Gregory T. Copes from Lynch Station, Gunnery Sergeant Ryan Jeschke from Herndon; from the United States Air Force Captain Brandon L. Cyr from Woodbridge ; From the United States Navy Gunners Mate 2nd Class Dion R. Roberts from Virginia Beach, Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew G. Kantor from Virginia Beach, Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin R. Ebbert from Virginia Beach, Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque from Virginia Beach, and Commander Job W. Price from Virginia Beach.
The Commonwealth is home to so many members of the United States Armed Forces and their families, and is where the meaning of this day takes on a particular significance. On Memorial Day, as we remember the brave Virginia sons and daughters we have lost, please take time to thank a service member and a veteran for their service in the defense of freedom.
Recognizing the sacrifice so many Virginians have made to protect us is a solemn reminder of the cost of freedom. On behalf of a grateful nation and the more than 8 million Virginians, I wish to personally thank the men and women who serve and their families and loved ones, who also serve, for all of their sacrifice, and to honor the 20 Virginia military personnel who we pay tribute to this year for making the ultimate sacrifice in the fight for freedom. I join all Virginians in expressing my gratitude."