Indian Head honors those who gave all on Memorial Day
Town holds ceremony to recognize fallen military members
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.
Command Master Chief Jacob Bristow of the U.S. Navy addresses Indian Head residents at the town’s Memorial Day ceremony on Tuesday.