Memorial Day Ceremony Held at Albemarle County Office Building

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On a day when many say we're too preoccupied with a day off from work, dozens came together across central Virginia to honor the real meaning of Memorial Day.

Dozens gathered outside the Albemarle County Office Building Monday. The message from veterans was not just to remember those we've lost, but to honor those still fighting the war on terror.

"We as a nation cannot forget those that we send out,” said Col. Joel Jenkins, keynote speaker at the ceremony.

For people like Robert Ortega, who served in Iraq and lost friends along the way, Memorial Day is not just a day off work - it can be a painful reminder of loss.

"It's not the same for everybody, but it's rough over there at times and just want everybody to appreciate what we're doing over there,” said Ortega.

From patriotic selections played by the Charlottesville High School band, to laying wreaths, the message was not just about keeping those who serve in mind – but instilling that value among younger generations.

Jenkins pointed out that the war on terror has been the longest protracted war in our nation's history. It has also been done without a draft - and whether you agree with it or not, veterans asked to still show appreciation when you can for those that serve.

Editors Note:  This story was edited to correct the keynote speaker's name, originally reported as Col. Joel Perkins.