After a one-year hiatus and a whole host of changes, I’m bringing back my coverage of the Memorial Day weekend occurrences.
Last year’s Memorial Day celebration, to me, wasn’t much to write about. It’s not that the ceremony was any different, but to be honest I wasn’t in the mood for taking photos or recording the events. Couple that with the demise of another Memorial Day weekend staple event I enjoyed, the Concert for a Random Soldier, and I suppose I saw no point.
While the CRS is still lamented and missed, this Memorial Day weekend was special nonetheless because Kim’s daughter graduated from high school on Saturday, so we celebrated that fact with friends and family. Yet I didn’t forget to recall those who made the ultimate sacrifice at the Civic Center this morning.
I’ve seen the program several times before, so I pretty much have the order of ceremonies down. Longtime MC Tony Sarbanes is still at his task.
We recognize the Gold Star mothers, the veterans who are attending, the committee that annually puts the event together, and elected officials. In recent years, however, the purpose of this table is explained as well.
After the reciting of branch prayers, and before reading the list of names for each war, which varies from the two local residents lost in Operation Enduring Freedom to the 109 who perished in World War II, this bell is tolled two times, in succession – four rings for each. Since the annual event began in 2002, there have been seven names added to the list, the most recent being SGM Wardell B. Turner three years ago.
We conclude, as always, with the playing of Amazing Grace, laying of a ceremonial wreath, a volley of arms, and Taps. Just try not to get misty-eyed.
As an aside, we also had Taps played in our church service Sunday. John Jochum, who is the member of our church who played it for us, has also performed at this event in the past.
The location for the ceremony is a permanently dedicated section in front of our Wicomico County Youth and Civic Center. While it is a fine location for our county, it is far from the most unique location for such a memorial.
Last weekend my wife and I took a mini-vacation to the Shenandoah Valley, with a stop at the Luray Caverns. Near the end of our tour, we were informed about a most unusual feature – the Page County Veterans Memorial, which, like Wicomico County’s, honors their fallen from World War I onward. Our guide explained that, in a county of 28,000 people, the local veterans’ organizations felt there was no better place for a memorial to be seen than at an attraction that draws over a half-million annually. So there it stands.
Aside number two: while the Luray Caverns are nice, I highly recommend visiting the Luray Valley Museum across the road. I could have spent another hour there looking at the pioneer-era to Civil War displays inside the museum.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind my readers that today, Memorial Day, is a day set aside to honor those who perished in battle. Yes, we should express our thanks to veterans as we see them, but that particular ceremony is appropriate for Veteran’s Day in November.