Shore gathers to pay homage to fallen heroes
BEULAH — The Eastern Shore community celebrated the lives and dedication of the fallen U.S. military members during the annual Memorial Day Service Tuesday, May 30, at the Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery at Beulah near Hurlock.
More than 7,000 flags decorated the grave sites with the ceremony featuring 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.
“Today, we rejoice in the commitment of the mission,” said Maryland American Legion 1st Vice Commander James Marchinke, who joined the military 33 years ago at the age of 19. “The fallen need to be remember, and just not for their selfless ser vice. Americans tend to forget these past sacrifices these veterans have endured in the fight for freedom, and we should never forget the families that have endured so much.
“Many have transferred to Post Everlasting serving this great nation,” he said. “Those who have passed on are remembered for their dedication of ser vice, their commitment of mission and their love of country.”
Marchinke said he is proud to be a veteran, and believes the path was his calling in life.
“It was a call to serve and to use the skills provided to continue to forge a path of service with the values instilled throughout my military career,” he said. “At 19 years old, I chose to serve a greater purpose than myself and or my family. I chose to lay down my life to protect the freedoms so many take for granted.”
At the opening of the ceremony, retired U.S. marine Bruce Webster, superintendent of the cemetery, read a Memorial Day proclamation from Gov. Larry Hogan.
Hogan asked all Marylanders to pay homage to the men and women who fought and died to preserve the country’s cherished way of life.
Denise Lovelady, community liaison for U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st, read Harris’ speech the congressman gave last week before Congress about Memorial Day.
“I rise today in recognition of one of our nation’s most important holidays, Memorial Day,” he said. “We will honor the brave men and women who have given their lives to this great nation. Over the course of our histor y, countless Marylanders have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom here at home and to liberate others from tyranny aboard.
“Let us not lose sight of the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform or the sacrifices made by the families they have left behind,” he said. “These heroes and their families deserve our upmost respect, support and gratitude.”
At the end of the service, past and present U.S. military members presented wreaths to honor fallen military members for each branch of the armed forces. Hillsboro resident Ernst Selig, 95, and a World World II veteran, presented the Purple Heart wreath.
After the wreaths were presented, “Taps” was played, then the flags were returned to full staff.
Past and present U.S. military members lay wreaths at Tuesday’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery at Beulah near Hurlock.