Indian Head remembers the fallen, honors veteran mother
This week, Charles County residents reflected on the true meaning of Memorial Day, specifically the fallen American patriots who gave their lives during their service to the country.
On May 31, the Town of Indian Head took time to recognize the fallen soldiers during the town’s Memorial Day Ceremony at the Village Green Pavilion and demonstrated how the legacy of service men and women continues to live.
“Sometimes Memorial Day gets clouded by other things, the cookouts and three-day weekends but its truly about those that paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives for all of the freedoms that we get to enjoy every day,” Mayor Brandon Paulin said.
The Memorial Day Ceremony included a presentation of colors by the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Color Guard from the Indian Head
Naval Surface Warfare Center, U.S. Marine Corps, the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem performed by Indian Head Elementary School chorus, recognition of Vietnam War Gold Star Mother Mabel Painter, and a brief speech from Indian Head Mayor Brandon Paulin and guest speaker Col. Michael A. Carter of the chemical biological incident response force.
“It’s an honor to receive the Gold Star but its also a sad situation,” said Painter, 84. “My son, Robert A. Painter Jr., 20, died 46 years ago so it’s forever there in my heart and memory. It was a great feeling to know that these people want to do this ceremony for veterans who have passed away and we hope it continues.”
Painter has been an Indian Head resident for 50 years and attended the ceremony with several of her family members including her daughter Doris Ryce.
James W. Alston, 58, retired gunnery sergeant of the U.S. Marine Corps, said he was truly honored to escort Painter to the front to receive her Gold Star.
“Its a privilege and an honor to be here and escort Mrs. Painter because I could have been one of those who didn’t make it back home,” Alston said. “By the grace of God I am here today and this means the world to me. I have no regrets joining the Marine Corps and I advise others, don’t take anything for granted. We have so much to be thankful for — freedom of speech, freedom to vote, things that others who are less fortunate don’t have.”
Alston has been living in Indian Head for 11 years and is a member of American Legion Post 233.
Carter congratulated all of the Gold Star family members and veterans for their continued service to the nation, before he gave his own perspective of the original meaning of Memorial Day during his speech.
“All gave some, but some gave all,” Carter said. “Let us recommit our resolve to lead better lives and to serve our fellow countrymen to preserve for future generations to come. Let us remember their sacrifices, what they stood for, their selfless service, and the people who have experienced losing a dear friend and precious family members of those who now lie in eternal glory. We remember those brave souls who were caught in the gap of victory and defeat but fought to protect our way of life.”
Vice Mayor Ron Sitoula said he was glad to hear Carter’s words of remembrance, “freedom comes at a cost,” because American blood has been sacrificed all across the world.
“It’s because of their sacrifices not only here at home but also abroad, that the American flag stands tall, respected and people still look to America as the beacon of freedom,” Sitoula said. “It is important that we as a town celebrate their lives and how our lives can continue to grow and cherish the freedom that we have.”
Councilman Curtis Smith is also a military veteran and said that the ceremony symbolizes how important the military base community is to the town’s residents. The Village Green, located just outside of the Village Green Pavilion, is home to a memorial sign that the council plans to have restored.
“It is important that we restore it and bring back the luster of it because its worn, its been neglected and we’re going to bring it back to show its continued importance to the town,” Smith said.
On May 31, Vietnam War Gold Star Mother, Mabel Painter, 84, is escorted by James W. Alston, 58, a retired gunnery sergeant of the United States Marine Corps, for her to be recognized as the Gold Star Mother of Indian Head at the Memorial Day Ceremony at the Indian Head Village Green Pavilion.
Indian Head Mayor Brandon Paulin, left, guest speaker Col. Michael A. Carter, Senior Master Sgt. Louis Knight and Staff Sgt. Jerome A Stoudamire stand at the introduction of the Memorial Day Ceremony in Indian Head on Tuesday.
Mayor Brandon Paulin speaks Tuesday at the Memorial Day Ceremony at Indian Head Village Green Pavilion.