The City of Morgantown celebrated Armed Forces Day by remembering Staff Sergeant Gene Vance, Jr.
The seventh annual event was held in remembrance of the first West Virginia National Guard officer to be killed in active duty since World War II.
Gene Vance, Jr. Day was created in an effort to pay recognition to all of our men and women in uniform around the world. All Americans and allies worldwide were invited to observe a national moment of silence in observance of the day. Friends and family came together at Monongalia County Courthouse Square to honor the heroes.
“Most people can remember 9/11. What they thought they were doing on 9/11. And the surge of nationalism that occurred in our nation after the attack was really profound,” said Vance’s Brother-in-Law Michael Mince.
Vance was a West Virginia native and West Virginia University alumnus, and was also a highly-skilled and decorated U.S. Special Forces citizen soldier. Members of unit 219, Vance’s unit, showed their support during the event.
“We wanted to try to keep the awareness going of all the service members that are still participating, those that are coming back, and those that have been wounded and take care of them so they know that we as a community are standing by them still in this longest ongoing war,” continued Mince.
Following his death, the Gene Vance, Jr. Foundation was set up by family members to help critically injured veterans.
“I have a son that just recently retired from the United States Army, and I, myself, spent eight years there. I’m proud to be here,” said Doug Geary who attended the event with his wife.
Community members showed support in large numbers and many took the time to remember their service and the service of their loved ones.