Stafford’s 2024 Memorial Day Ceremony: A Solemn Tribute on the 80th Anniversary of D-Day

Stafford’s 2024 Memorial Day Ceremony will be a poignant tribute to the 80th Anniversary of D-Day, a day that holds deep meaning due to the sacrifice of the Boutchyard family. Marvin, a survivor of the storming of Omaha Beach, and Mercer, who fought in the Battle for Okinawa, made the ultimate sacrifice. Their cousin, Marshal Boutchyard, an MP in the Army National Guard, will lay a wreath in their memory. The keynote speaker will be Benjamin Brands, American Battle Monuments Commission Historian. 

The ceremony will take place on Friday, May 24, at 10:00 a.m. at the Armed Services Memorial, located on the campus of the George L. Gordon, Jr., Government Center, 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA 22554.

“Marvin Boutchyard’s mother lost one son in Normandy and one a year later in the Pacific,” said Chairwoman of the Stafford Board of Supervisors Meg Bohmke. “With the 80th Anniversary of D-Day this summer, we thought it important to honor and recognize the incredible sacrifice of families like the Boutchyards.”

Ben Brands, a Ph.D. candidate in History at George Mason University, specializes in the history of the United States Army in the nineteenth century. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the College of William and Mary in 2004 and his Master of Arts from George Mason University in 2015. From 2015 to 2017, he served as an Assistant Professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, where he taught courses on Military History and the American Civil War. He has also taught American and European Military History for Oregon State University's Ecampus. He previously served as an infantry officer in the United States Army. He worked at the U.S. Army's Center of Military History, helping to write the official history of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Since 2019, he has been employed full-time as a historian for the American Battle Monuments Commission, an agency of the U.S. federal government responsible for the care and administration of America's overseas military cemeteries and monuments. Marvin Boutchyard is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery and Mercer Boutchyard in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The American Battle Monuments Commission administrates the Normandy American Cemetery.

Rolling Thunder Chapter VA 3 will be special guests and present a special formation. All those with motorcycles who would like to honor the fallen are welcome to the ceremony and asked to park in the front row of the parking lot next to the Memorial.

The ceremony will be streamed live on Stafford County’s Facebook page, and there will be a Facebook event page with further details.