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Issue 67
Friday, May 28, 2021
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

To me this holiday weekend feels more like a watershed moment than any during this pandemic. Last year, we were fully focused on testing kit supplies and not easing mitigation measures. Memorial Day almost seemed to come and go unnoticed.

It's amazing the difference a year makes! Now we are focusing on continued vaccination progress and at midnight tonight, Friday, May 28, all mitigation measures on capacity and distancing in Virginia will be lifted for businesses and public spaces.

Now we can properly honor Memorial Day and all it signifies. I wish you all a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend!

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
A Special Tribute
On Friday, May 28, at 10:30 am the BOCS conducted a special Memorial Day Tribute. The ceremony honored Major L. Eduardo Caraveo, who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our county. Major Caraveo was preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan when he was killed in the November 2009 terrorist attack at Fort Hood, which also took the lives of twelve others. As a resident of Woodbridge, several constituents, in addition to a local VFW Post and the Dale City Purple Heart Chapter worked to have his name added to the memorial.
Major L. Eduardo Caraveo was born on Jan. 14, 1957 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and moved to El Paso, Texas as a teenager. The first in his family to earn a college degree, he eventually earned a Doctorate in Psychology from The University of Arizona and completed a Post Doctorate M.S. in Clinical Psychopharmacology at New Mexico State University.

At the age of 42, Major Caraveo entered Army Reserves in 1999. He was at Fort Hood preparing for his first overseas deployment to help soldiers deal with the stresses of war when the attack occurred and took his life. He has subsequently been awarded The Purple Heart Medal and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Division 55, American Society for the Advancement of Pharmacotherapy, created The Major Caravero National Service Award in 2010. The award is granted to a medical/prescribing psychologist who has made significant contributions in public service and/or to the underserved.

Angela Rivera, (left) wife of major Caraveo, and John Paul Caraveo, (center) one of major Caraveo's four children, attended the ceremony.

Pictured on the right is Donna Flory, who did the Call to Order for the ceremony.
Important Acknowledgement
In 1999, Sen. John McCain introduced May as Military Appreciation Month. Congress designated the month as a time for reflection on the sacrifices and contributions made by those, past and present, who are serving and have served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Space Force, and National Guard. May was chosen because it has many individual days marked to note our military's achievements, including Loyalty Day, established in 1921, Victory in Europe (VE) Day commemorating the end of WWII in Europe in 1945, and Children of Fallen Patriots Day. Of course, it is also the month of Memorial Day, which is featured below. PWC is home to many military members and their families.
“Throughout Prince William County, we have all branches of the armed forces living, working and serving as an integral part of the community. With Quantico to the south, Fort Belvoir to the east, and the Pentagon to our north, we honor past and present military members and their families that have sacrificed so much. God bless all who served and continue to serve our great nation!”
Ann Wheeler
Chair At-Large
PWC Board of Supervisors
Memorial Day
Its Origins
Memorial Day emerged from the aftermath of the Civil War, which ended in the Spring of 1865. Claiming more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, it required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.
Then on May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance. He proclaimed May 30 as Decoration Day, with the purpose of placing flowers, or other decorations, on the graves of the fallen "whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

The date was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. On that Saturday, May 30, in 1868 General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Civil War soldiers buried there. A little over 50 years later, the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day 1922.
Over time, the day became known as Memorial Day and continued to be observed on May 30 until 1968. This is when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, establishing Memorial Day as the last Monday in May.
A Modern Day Discovery About the First Memorial Day
While there has been speculation about its exact origins, in 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. This stemmed from a ceremony held on May 5, 1866, to honor local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Then, 30 years later in 1996, an American History Professor at Yale, David Blight, made an amazing discovery.
In the course of researching his book, "Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory," Blight accepted an offer from a curator at Harvard’s Houghton Library to look through two boxes of unsorted material from Union veterans. Inside one box was a file labeled 'First Declaration Day.' It contained a handwritten account on cardboard by a veteran and a reference to a New York Tribune article. Blight subsequently found a Charleston Courier article which added validity to the details in that folder.
These documents referenced the Confederate Army's transformation of the formerly posh Washington Race Course and Jockey Club. Located in Charleston, South Carolina, near the end of the war, it was used as a makeshift prison for Union captives. The more than 260 soldiers held there, who died from disease and exposure, were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstands.
When Charleston fell, Confederate troops evacuated the badly damaged city. The newly emancipated men and women who remained gave the fallen Union prisoners a proper burial. They exhumed the mass grave and reinterred the bodies in a new cemetery with a tall whitewashed fence inscribed with the words: “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

Then on May 1, 1865, just one month after the end of the war, a crowd of 10,000 people gathered in what many consider the first memorial ceremony. The mostly freed slaves with some white missionaries staged a parade around the racetrack and 3000 Black schoolchildren carrying flowers.
Important Memorial Day Traditions

  • The American flag should be hung at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, then raised to the top of the staff.
  • Since 2000, when the U.S. Congress passed legislation, all Americans are encouraged to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.
Out of the Rubble Came Beauty
Wearing a red poppy in remembrance of those fallen in war has become a well know tradition and many know of its connection to the poem "In Flanders Field" by John McCrea. Perhaps not as well known, is the essential, and rather unexpected, element that led to the poppy tradition.

World War I ravaged the landscape of Western Europe. Some of the most brutal clashes were across Northern France and the Flanders area of Northern Belgium. Towns, fields, and forests were destroyed and the soil beneath them decimated. Yet, many scientists believe it was that very devastation that led to the emergence of beauty. The rubble remains enriched the soil with lime, which enhances a poppy's ability to absorb nutrients. This created optimal conditions for poppies to both flourish and produce brilliant blooms. it was during the warm early spring of 1915 that poppies started proliferating the land, which continued across Europe after the War.
On September 27, 1920, the poppy became the official flower of The American Legion family to memorialize the soldiers who fought and died during the war. In 1924, the distribution of poppies became a national program of The American Legion. In 2017, The American Legion brought National Poppy Day® to the United States by asking Congress to designate the Friday before Memorial Day, May 28 in 2021, as National Poppy Day.
The Poem
That spring of 1915, the brutal Second Battle of Ypres led to over 100,000 casualties and the first use of mustard gas by the Germans. Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D., a Canadian who served as a brigade surgeon for an Allied artillery unit, was in the thick of it tending to the wounded.

One day shortly after the battle ended, he was struck by the sight of bright red blooms on broken ground. From this, he penned the poem, “In Flanders Field,” in which he channeled the voice of the fallen soldiers buried under those hardy poppies. Published in a magazine later that year, it has been used at countless memorial ceremonies and is one of the most famous works of art from the Great War.
“In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.
Memorial Day Weekend Events
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) General Lewis B. (Chesty) Puller Post 1503, the largest VFW in the world, is hosting a Memorial Day Picnic on Monday, May 31. The celebration will commence at 11:30 pm at 14631 Minnieville Road in Dale City. It is free and open to the public; signup and tickets are NOT required!
You can also find plenty of fun things happening around the County to keep you busy during the three-day weekend on VisitPWC's Memorial Day Weekend webpage. From live music to water-related fun, there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy!
Around the Region
On Sunday, May 30, at 12:00 pm, AMVETS is holding its 2nd consecutive motorcycle demonstration ride, Rolling to Remember Motorcycle Ride in Washington D.C. The event will serve to raise awareness of the critical issues facing our nation’s veterans and demand action for the 82,000 service members currently missing and the 22 veterans who die by suicide each day. Additional Memorial weekend activities can be found here.
This year, the traditional National Memorial Day Concert in Washington D.C. has been cancelled. However, a special 90-minute presentation of the concert will air on PBS Sunday, May 30th starting at 8:00 pm. It will also be available via streaming on PBS's website and Facebook page.
An in-person Vietnam Veterans Memorial Day Ceremony will be held on Monday, May 31, at 1:00 pm at The Wall. While there will be limited reserved seating, the ceremony will be available via streaming on The Wall's website and Facebook page.
The 24th annual Memorial Day ceremony hosted by the Military Women's Memorial will be on Monday, May 31, at 4:00 pm. The ceremony is free and open to the public. It will included the Memorial’s signature scattering of rose petals event in tribute to departed comrades. The Military Women’s Memorial is located at the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery.
On Monday, May 31, participate in the virtual walk or run, Wear Blue: Run to Remember, in honor of fallen service members and their families' sacrifices. Participation is free, simply register and commit to run or walk a meaningful number of miles. Contact for information on a nearby in-person event location.
The National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, DC is a salute to the men and women who have sacrificed for our nation. While closed to the public this year, the parade will broadcast nationwide on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and CW stations, and to our military personnel worldwide on American Forces Network.
Ann B. Wheeler was elected Chair At-Large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors during the 2019 General Election and assumed office on January 1, 2020. Prince William County is located 25 miles south of Washington, D.C., and is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s second-most populous county with approximately 470,000 residents.