Eastern Shore honors fallen military heroes
FEDERALSBURG — A steady rain Monday forced the annual Memorial Day ceremony at Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery in Hurlock to move inside to the Federalsburg VFW but Patricia McCoy, 1st vice commander of the Maryland American Legion, took the sign as the fallen military veterans were watching over ever yone.
“There is a song called ‘Holes in the Floor of Heaven’ and I believe those, who made the ultimate sacrifice are watching over us today as we pay our respects,” McCoy said. “When we look out over the waters, out over the ocean, you never know what we could have been or who we would be under control of if it had not been for our men and women who have served this country, and paid the supreme sacrifice with their lives.”
The ceremony honored U.S. militar y veterans that paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who have passed away. It featured songs played by the Easton Middle School band, remarks from local and state officials, the laying of wreaths and a rifle volley salute by the sheriff offices in Dorchester and Caroline counties.
McCoy told a story about a family from Rose Haven learning about the death of a family member in Iraq.
“A family going about their everyday duties, a mother at home getting prepared for dinner heard a car pull up in the driveway,” she said. “She looked out. Two Army officers came out of the car, walked up to their door. She was home alone when they said ‘Ma’am, we are here to inform you that Staff Sgt. Christopher Swanson was killed by a sniper’s bullet in Iraq, yesterday afternoon.’
“I don’t know whether a lot of you have ever faced that kind of situation,” McCoy said. “I know a lot of our families from World War II faced that. My own family faced that when they called and said my uncle was killed in World War II.
“A young mother, her son, third tour in Iraq. He knew that we were doing what was right,” she said. “He knew that we were there to help the children of Iraq, to learn what freedom is all about. He gave his life, going back to Iraq for the third time. That is who we are here to honor today. Those men and women who gave their lives for us, for this great nation so that we can assemble together today to pay tribute to them.”
McCoy said the same respect and tribute should also be made for law enforcement.
“The things that are happening today, you never know what could happen to them,” she said. “I am the daughter of two police officers. I know what it was like, not knowing every day when my parents went to work, what could happen that day.
“It is the same with our military,” she said. “We never know but we will be prepared because we love our countr y and we love the men and women who serve it. We will continue standing together for them and support them no matter what.”
Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder presented a Memorial Day proclamation from Gov. Larry Hogan.
“On Memorial Day, as throughout the year, we honor the men and women in uniform who answered the call of duty to maintain the security of our country and the liberties we hold so dear,” Hogan said in the proclamation. “We, as Americans, have the solemn duty to perpetuate the memory of those who believed so deeply in what our country could be and are willing to give their lives to protect this freedom.”
U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski staff member Linda Prochaska read a statement from the senator.
“Memorial Day is not about the sale at the mall or opening day at the community pool,” Mikulski wrote. “Memorial Day is about the men and women who left home and hearth to serve our country. They left good jobs, great friends and wonderful families to do what had to be done. We come to this place today to honor them, especially those who did not return. We come to say ‘Thank you’.
“In these tense and fearful times, the people of the United States have come to depend on the men and women of our armed services more and more,” Mikulski wrote. “We know and remember them as soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. We remember them as WACS and WAVEs, Coast Guardsmen, Merchant Marines Reservists and National Guard personnel. They have served in every conflict for which Americans have been forced to take up arms. We remember them and we are grateful.”
A statement from U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin also was read by his staff member Kimberly Kratovil at the ceremony.
“Americans live free, secure and stable lives thanks to generations of men and women in uniform who were willing to sacrifice their own,” Cardin stated. “We must never forget the tremendous debt we owe those brave Americans. It is in large part because of them that America serves as a beacon of hope, freedom and equality to all of the world.
“Today, we do not only honor the men and women who have lost their lives in recent years,” he stated. “We honor every American who has ever given their life in defense of the values and freedoms we enjoy today. From Yorktown to Fort McHenry, from Antietam to Pearl Harbor, today we salute the centuries-old legacy of sacrifice and selflessness that defines our nation.”
After the wreath laying ceremony and the rifle volley salute, the ceremony paused for a playing of taps.
Sheriff offices in Dorchester and Caroline counties honor fallen soldiers with a rifle volley salute during Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Federalsburg VFW.
Past and present U.S. military members lay wreaths at Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony Federalsburg to honor fallen military members. in
Maryland American Legion 1st Vice Commander Patricia McCoy was the guest speaker at Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Federalsburg VFW.