In­dian Head hon­ors those who gave all on Me­mo­rial Day

Town holds cer­e­mony to rec­og­nize fallen mil­i­tary mem­bers

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By CHAR­LIE WRIGHT cwright@somd­news.com

Res­i­dents of In­dian Head gath­ered in the Vil­lage Green Pavil­ion Tues­day to honor de­ceased mem­bers of the mil­i­tary and their fam­i­lies at the town’s Me­mo­rial Day cer­e­mony.

About 60 peo­ple, in­clud­ing sev­eral vet­er­ans and cur­rent mem­bers of the mil­i­tary, were in at­ten­dance for the event, which was ded­i­cated to those who made the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice to pre­serve free­dom in the United States.

Af­ter the In­dian Head Ele­men­tary School cho­rus, di­rected by An­drew Blumhardt, led the au­di­ence in the Pledge of Al­le­giance fol­lowed by the na­tional an­them, re­tired Se­nior Mas­ter Sgt. Louis L. Knight of the U.S. Air Force gave a prayer to bless

the pro­ceed­ings. Knight served for 26 years, and lost a brother and two brothers-in-law dur­ing the Viet­nam War. He spent 10 years serv­ing abroad and re­flected on the im­por­tance of free­dom in this coun­try.

“It brings back a lot of mem­o­ries [of] be­ing over­seas, see­ing how peo­ple live in other coun­tries and see­ing how blessed we are to have the free­dom we have,” Knight said. “The rea­son why is the deep sac­ri­fices of the men and women who have not only paid the ul­ti­mate price, but are con­tin­u­ing to pay the ul­ti­mate price.”

In­dian Head Mayor Bran­don Paulin of­fered

re­marks on the im­por­tance of the hol­i­day, thank­ing those who served and en­cour­ag­ing those in at­ten­dance to re­al­ize the sig­nif­i­cance of the sac­ri­fices made by fallen sol­diers. Me­mo­rial Day is es­pe­cially im­por­tant in the town, given it is home to Naval Sup­port Fa­cil­ity In­dian Head and has many res­i­dents with mil­i­tary con­nec­tions.

“It’s very im­por­tant for us, we have a lot of ac­tive duty peo­ple or re­tired that live within the town,” Paulin said. “The town and the mil­i­tary are re­ally tied to­gether, so it’s im­por­tant to honor those in­di­vid­u­als.”

For­mer Staff Sgt. Jerome E. Stoudamire of the U.S. Air Force, who em­ceed the event, had ev­ery cur­rent and for­mer mem­ber of the mil­i­tary in at­ten­dance stand for recog­ni­tion.

This in­cluded a spe­cial ac­knowl­edge­ment of Porter Ham­rick, In­dian Head’s old­est liv­ing vet­eran, who turned 95 years old last week.

Stoudamire then asked Ma­bel Painter to ap­proach the stage for recog­ni­tion as a Viet­nam War Gold Star Mother. The Mothers of Ser­vice Per­son­nel pro­gram be­gan dur­ing World War II, where mothers would fly a blue star in their win­dow if their child was in ac­tive duty or a gold star if their child was killed while in ser­vice. Painter’s son died dur­ing the Viet­nam War and she was rec­og­nized as the Gold Star Mother of In­dian Head.

Com­mand Mas­ter Chief Ja­cob Bris­tow was tabbed as the guest speaker, and he ad­dressed the crowd by read­ing the Bixby Let­ter — the fa­mous memo of con­do­lence writ­ten by Pres­i­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln to a mother who had lost five sons in the Civil War. Bris­tow ex­plained the let­ter em­pha­sizes the value of ser­vice to one’s coun­try and the duty of ci­ti­zens to rec­og­nize those we have lost.

“We have a Vet­eran’s Day to re­mem­ber vet­er­ans and we re­mem­ber peo­ple that are in­volved in the mil­i­tary, but to set aside a day for those who gave the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice and can’t en­joy the free­doms they pro­vided us is what Me­mo­rial Day is all about,” Bris­tow said.

STAFF PHOTO BY CHAR­LIE WRIGHT

Com­mand Mas­ter Chief Ja­cob Bris­tow of the U.S. Navy ad­dresses In­dian Head res­i­dents at the town’s Me­mo­rial Day cer­e­mony on Tues­day.

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