Salute to Vet­er­ans wel­comes back fire­works

Es­ti­mated 10K watch Sun­day show

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By CH­ERYL MATTIX

cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com

— The Ce­cil County Salute to Vet­er­ans brought fire­works back to its an­nual patriotic trib­ute Sun­day, much to the de­light of nearly 10,000 spec­ta­tors.

This de­ci­sion was made af­ter a laser show re­placed the tra­di­tional fire­works last year, leav­ing some spec­ta­tors yearn­ing for the crackle, pop and boom over the North­east River.

“The fire­works re­turn seems to have been a hit,” said Eugene Da­ley, 2016 chair­man of Ce­cil County Salute to Vet­er­ans. “The crowd was at least dou­ble from last year.”

Da­ley added that one town em­ployee es­ti­mated over 10,000 peo­ple at­tended Sun­day night un­der nearly per­fect weather con­di­tions.

“I’m very happy,” he said. “The crowd was well­be­haved and ev­ery­one I talked with was en­joy­ing the evening.”

The com­mit­tee will spend the next few weeks as­sess­ing the event and look­ing for ways to im­prove it next year, Da­ley said. A few unan­tic­i­pated, last-minute glitches hap­pened, he added, but over­all the event went smoothly.

North East Com­mu­nity Park and its Gil­bert Light­house Pavil­ion provided the set­ting for the patriotic event that be­gan at 5 p.m. and ended at about 10 p.m.

Vet­er­ans were again the fo­cal point of the event, which in­cluded a grow­ing dis­play of flags provided by the Ro­tary Club of North East that greeted vis­i­tors as they en­tered the park, vet­eran op­er­ated or ben­e­fit­ted food ven­dors, patriotic mu­sic, a flag rais­ing cer­e­mony and the par­tic­i­pa­tion of six lo­cal vet­er­ans from the 29th Di­vi­sion that landed on Omaha Beach in Nor­mandy dur­ing World War II.

This year, Col. Ken­neth A. Lenig, mil­i­tary deputy and chief of staff for the Army Ma­teriel Sys­tems Anal­y­sis Ac­tiv­ity at Aberdeen Prov­ing Ground, spoke to the crowd about pa­tri­o­tism and mil­i­tary ser­vice. Re­tired U.S. Air Force Col. Henry Passi served as em­cee and County Coun­cil Vice Pres­i­dent Alan McCarthy pre­sented Da­ley with a procla­ma­tion from the county in recog­ni­tion

NORTH EAST

of this year’s event, which fo­cused on high­lighted the vet­er­ans from the Viet­nam War.

Boy Scouts handed out spe­cial gifts to all Viet­nam vet­er­ans at­tend­ing the cer­e­mony on Sun­day night.

A col­lec­tion of high school bands from North East, Elk­ton and Bo­hemia Manor high schools provided the patriotic mu­sic this year.

“I re­ally liked them and hope they can re­turn again next year,” Da­ley said.

Un­der the lead­er­ship of fundrais­ing chair­man Brian De­Maris, the Ce­cil County Salute to Vet­er­ans com­mit­tee raised about $42,000 this year, leav­ing enough left­over to have some seed money to be­gin plan­ning for next year’s event, Da­ley said.

Ce­cil County VFW Me­mo­rial Post No. 6027 Com­man­der Stan­ley Bens­ley pre­sented a $10,500 check to the Ce­cil Col­lege Foun­da­tion to en­dow fu­ture schol­ar­ships for vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies dur­ing the cer­e­mony Sun­day. He also do­nated two bi­cy­cles to Ce­cil County Di­rec­tor of Emer­gency Ser­vices Richard Brooks for the EMS bike team.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CH­ERYL MATTIX

North East Mayor Robert McKnight of­fers an open­ing prayer prior to the flag rais­ing cer­e­mony.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CH­ERYL MATTIX

Fire­works ex­plode over the North­east River dur­ing the Salute to Ce­cil County Vet­er­ans Sun­day.

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