This year’s Veterans Day commemoration hosted by the George C. Marshall International Center on Wednesday reflected not only on the commitment and sacrifices of those in military service, but also the continuing efforts to preserve the home of the American general and statesman.
Retired Rear Admiral Thomas C. Lynch provided the keynote remarks under a tent on the lawn of Marshall’s Dodona Manor along Edwards Ferry Road.
“Not only are we here to honor General Marshall—and thank all of you for the job you’ve done to maintain this home and have it here to make it possible to have a place to reflect on and honor a great stateman such as hm—but also on this day when we think about those in uniform and those who have worn the uniform and what it means to us as a nation,” Lynch said.
“Our American experiment in freedom, self-government and free enterprise began with the citizen soldiers in Lexington, it continued to the Civil War, both world wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War and now the global war on terror,” he said. “Throughout this period, we’ve been a nation who required our nation’s best and brightest to commit. That’s why Veteran’s Day is a time for gratitude, reflection and understanding.”
County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) noted that the 2010 Census reported that 10% of Loudouners were military veterans.
“I want to encourage everyone today to not just thank a veteran. We should to that. And not just honor a veteran. We should do that. And not just acknowledge their service. We should do that,” Randall said. “But I also want us to remember and to go today to find out how we can help our veterans in other ways—veterans that are homeless, veterans that are sick, veterans that have physical mental health issues. I want us to remember to take care of the entire person. Because that is what it means to be a veteran in this country and that is what is means for us to love veterans in this country.”
The ceremony marked the 15thanniversary of Marshall’s restored home opening to the public for the first time. Tom Greenspon, president emeritus of the center, said the continuing community-led effort to preserve Dodona Manor has evolved into an international program to inspire future leaders with the example of Marshall’s selfless service, visionary leadership and unwavering integrity.
“In 1991, much like what had faced Mt. Vernon and Monticello earlier, the home of this truly great American was nearly demolished. If it had not been for the citizens of Leesburg … we would all be standing in a parking lot right now,” Greenspon said.
And highlighting the role Marshall played in shaping the world today, he drew a comparison with the resident of Mt. Vernon, George Washington.
“In the 20thcentury, General Marshall was first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen because of his outstanding character,” he said.
During the pandemic, Dodona Manor is open for tours on a by-appointment basis. Learn more at georgecmarshall.org.