Me­mo­rial Day: sac­ri­fices re­mem­bered

Record Observer - - News - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­

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.

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