"The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten."
Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of The United States of America
Gene Vance Jr. Day
Gene Vance Jr. Day is a commemorative Military Appreciation Day named for Gene Arden Vance Jr. Recognized annually during May in the United States by the State of West Virginia with remembrances at select military installations that bear Vance's name throughout the world, it occurs during Military Appreciation Month and U.S. Armed Forces Week. The day honors the legacy of American soldiers who returned home from the Global War on Terror (GWOT), the longest ongoing war in U.S. history, remembers and mourns the fallen and supports the wounded.
It is distinct from other U.S. military appreciation days in that it is named for an American military hero and specifically honors American service members and their allies who are serving, were wounded or perished in the ongoing conflict.
On May 16, 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, founder of the day Michael M.J. Minc spearheaded the 9th annual Gene Vance Jr. Day by creating a virtual event on US Armed Forces Day that also recognized everyone involved in the fight against COVID-19. Entitled ‘United in Spirit’ it brought together national government leaders, military leaders, education leaders, religious leaders, musical performers as well as those on the frontlines of the pandemic.
The goal of the virtual ceremony is to inspire hope and unite people during a time of global social and economic disruption on a day which historically honors those on the front lines of the Global War on Terror.
Official observances are proclaimed annually on May 18 in the City of Morgantown, West Virginia in a citywide ceremony that includes official proclamations, state and local governmental and military leadership addresses and greetings, wreath laying memorializing the names of fallen soldiers from West Virginia, guest speakers and participation from national organizations, musical performances and events to raise awareness for those wounded in the conflict. The day is organized annually by the Gene Vance Jr. Foundation, the West Virginia Army National Guard, City of Morgantown and State of West Virginia.
An Unforgettable City That Never Forgets
Situated along the banks of the Monongahela River in the rolling green hills of West Virginia lies the City of Morgantown.
Morgantown is best known as the home of West Virginia University and the Personal Rapid Transit system. It was founded in 1772 by Colonel Zackquill Morgan.
Morgantown is an unforgettable City in several ways. Throughout its history it never forgot to honor its heroes.
From a masterful statue of its founder to a unique annual day called The Gene Vance Jr Day, the City pays tribute to those who serve, have fallen and are wounded defending liberty and community.
Morgantown’s rich legacy of honor is further reflected in The Vance Mile Bike Path and the Gene Arden Vance Jr. Memorial Drive reflecting the true meaning of community support.