Memorial Day: sacrifices remembered
GRASONVILLE — Memorial Day was observed Monday, May 29, at our local veterans organizations with memorial services for those who have, in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, “given the last full measure of devotion.” Both the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 7464, in Grasonville, and the Kent Island American Legion, Post 278, in Stevensville, held brief but meaningful services. The services at the VFW went off at 11 a.m., the Legion at 11:30 a.m. Both had a very similar message — ultimate sacrifices by our militar y personnel, past and present, have provided the freedom we all have and cherish. Their sacrifices, with their lives, should never be forgotten.
The VFW ceremony reminded those in attendance that Memorial Day began with the ending of the Civil War, and the desire to honor our dead. Since 1865, Memorial Day has become very much an American tradition, annually the last complete weekend in May. Both ceremonies asked those in attendance to repeat the Pledge of Allegiance. Both played “Taps.”
Both ceremonies had prayers. KI Legion Auxiliary Chaplain Paula Grimes said these words as part of her prayer: “Dear God, on this Memorial Day, may we honor and remember those who died that we might live in freedom. May their memory serve as an inspiration to us.”
At the KI Legion, Queen Anne’s County Commander Nikki Randolph spoke to those gathered just outside the front door of the post. She talked about two different lives that were sacrificed in two very different conflicts in the past 100 years.
The first occurred during World War I (which the U.S. entered in 1917), “the war to end all wars.”
“Tragically, it wasn’t,” said Randolph. “A 28-yearold ‘doughboy’ Lt. John Hunter Wickersham, who died September 12, 1918, while on the front lines of a battlefield in Limey, France. Wickersham showed great courage though seriously wounded in four different places on his body; he even treated the wounds of his orderly. He then fought on, exhausted and bloodied, dying on the battlefield. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.”
Today, 2017, 100 years later, we’re now in a very different type war, the War on Terrorism. Randolph said, “There will be no surrender treaty signed aboard a battleship or in a conference room. Wars today may be less defined, one fact is crystal clear: Our enemies want us dead.”
Randolph talked about Staff Sergeant Mark De Alencar, of the 7th Special Forces Group, “Last month, April 8, Mark was killed fighting ISIS in Eastern Afghanistan. He was a native of Edgewood, Maryland. He was trained to protect our freedom. Five children lost their father .... As Americans we must give assurance that their loved one’s sacrifice will not be forgotten.”
Randolph asked, “Can any of us who are living say that we accomplished more in our fuller life spans than those who we honor today? For what they lacked in time, they made up for in valor. Outstanding men and women who have given everything for our freedom. These families are the fabric of our nation. They did it to serve America. They did it to serve us. Let us live up to their sacrifice.”
Both ceremonies concluded with the reading of names of local members of each organization. The KI Legion read 38 names who of those who died this past year, 32 Legion members, five Auxiliary members, and a Sons of American Legion member, Joshua Randolph.
The VFW read names of 10 members. Those VFW members who died this past year were: *Bill Kuykendall, Al Nulph, Terry Crane, Pat Allen, Jim Kirby, Phillip Whitby, John Martinenza, *Richard LaBrie, William Wooters and *Charles Ware.
*Indicates also American Legion member
Past Post 7464 Commander Ken Phillips rings the bell with each name of post members who died in the past 12 months during the annual Memorial Day services. Ten members died in the past year.
VFW Post 7464 Commander Herb Jones, left, concludes Memorial Day services, Monday, May 29, in Grasonville. With him, Auxiliary President Pete Martinez, Past Commander Martin Skinner, Past Auxiliary President Trish Speakman, and Post Sr. Vice Commander Charles Hammond stand behind the symbolic wreathes remembering those who have died establishing and protecting our nation’s freedoms.
Post 7464 Quartermaster Martin Skinner, a past commander, readshis part in Monday, May 29, Memorial Day services. Skinner then placed one of five wreathes in memory of those who have died for our nation’s freedoms.