Vet­er­ans hon­ored at 7th an­nual muster, ap­pre­ci­a­tion cer­e­mony

Cir­cuit Court for Prince Ge­orge’s County rec­og­nizes, hon­ors ded­i­cated ser­vice of those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces

The Enquire-Gazette - - Front Page - By JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES jclinkscales@somd­news.com

In recog­ni­tion of vet­er­ans’ ded­i­cated ser­vice to the coun­try and their lo­cal com­mu­nity, the Cir­cuit Court for Prince Ge­orge’s County held its 7th An­nual Vet­eran’s Muster and Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Cer­e­mony on May 19 at the County Court House in Up­per Marl­boro.

Over 50 vet­er­ans from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces filled the jury lounge room as they sat side-by-side, most of whom were dressed in full uni­form. Each hon­oree re­ceived a medal of honor and a cer­tifi­cate be­fore sign­ing a muster book.

Among the hon­orees was re­tired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Glynn E. Parker, who served in reg­u­lar ac­tive duty for 27 years from 1958 to 1985. He now serves as a com­mis­sioner for the Mary­land Vet­er­ans Home and Char­lotte Hall Vet­er­ans Home in St. Mary’s County.

Parker said vet­er­ans ap­pre­ci­a­tion isn’t just about hon­or­ing the sac­ri­fice of men and women who served; rather, it’s an op­por­tu­nity to be around other vet­er­ans and help and guide them to­ward a bet- ter qual­ity of life, some­thing Parker con­sid­ers his big­gest joy.

“I know the needs of vet­er­ans and I’m out here try­ing to help them,” said Parker, a res­i­dent of Oxon Hill. “There’s al­ways some­body that needs help or needs some­body to guide them. … [The big­gest joy is] when you re­al­ize you help some­body and they show their ap­pre­ci­a­tion. A lot of peo­ple would not have got­ten any­where if it hadn’t been for some vet­eran

ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

For other ser­vice­men like former U.S. Ma­rine Corps Lance Cpl. Gre­gory G. Wal­ters who served dur­ing the Viet­nam era, he is thank­ful to have had an op­por­tu­nity to serve the coun­try and pass on that de­sire within his fam­ily.

Wal­ters gained pub­lic at­ten­tion two years ago when the Prince Ge­orge’s County Po­lice De­part­ment hon­ored him for 45 years of ser­vice, mak­ing Wal­ters the long­est serv­ing of­fi­cer in the de­part­ment’s his­tory. Wal­ters said he has at­tended the vet­eran’s ap­pre­ci­a­tion cer­e­mony ev­ery year for the last five years.

“I’m here to­day be­cause I want to celebrate. I have a son that’s also in the mil­i­tary, in the U.S. Army, and has been to Afghanistan twice,” said Wal­ters, who is cur­rently a Sgt. Ma­jor and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy project man­ager for the po­lice de­part­ment. “So just to celebrate the vet­er­ans past, present and fu­ture.”

When it comes to hon­or­ing the na­tion’s heroes past, present and fu­ture, The Amer­i­can Le­gion is the na­tion’s largest wartime vet­er­ans ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tion com­mit­ted to men­tor­ing youth and spon­sor­ship of whole­some pro­grams in com­mu­ni­ties, ad­vo­cat­ing pa­tri­o­tism and honor, pro­mot­ing strong na­tional se­cu­rity, and con­tin­ued de­vo­tion to fel­low ser­vice members and vet­er­ans. The le­gion also raises mil­lions of dol­lars in do­na­tions at the lo­cal, state and na­tional lev­els to help vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies dur­ing times of need, in ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing col­lege schol­ar­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties, ac­cord­ing to the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s web­site.

Bill Mil­li­gan, past com­man­der of the South­ern Mary­land dis­trict for The Amer­i­can Le­gion De­part­ment of Mary­land, was also among the vet­er­ans hon­ored at the cer­e­mony. Mil­li­gan served as a Viet­namese lin­guist for the Navy in the early 1960s, and then worked for the U.S. De­part­ment of De­fense for 35 years af­ter he got out.

Now, Mil­li­gan said he does what­ever he can to give back. He is still in­volved with The Amer­i­can Le­gion, vol­un­teers with the sher­iff’s of­fice and also serves on the county’s vet­er­ans com­mis­sion.

“This is very near and dear to my heart,” he said. “It just seems like most of the vet­er­ans, they go in, they serve their coun­try, come out and get on with their lives. They re­ally don’t want to talk about things that they did. They served and they felt that was their obli­ga­tion. … This goes back to the found­ing of this coun­try—they used to muster all the young men on the court­house lawn and have ev­ery­body sign up. In­ter­est­ing enough, peo­ple that are do­ing their fam­ily his­tory and fam­ily tree, they’re find­ing a lot of his­tory be­cause of those court­house records that peo­ple signed up on the muster. This is the 7th an­nual one and I hope it con­tin­ues.”

One vet­eran who has moved on with his life but is will­ing to talk about the things he did is re­tired Chief Master Sgt. Cor­nell Lang­ford. He served about 30 years in the Air Force and then taught aero­space science for 15 years as a Ju­nior Re­serve Of­fi­cer Train­ing Corps in­struc­tor, a stint he did up un­til 2012 when he re­tired from Sur­rattsville High School in Clin­ton.

“I came from the Viet­nam era which was not a very pop­u­lar war. So it’s only been in the past decade that peo­ple are com­ing up to me and say­ing thank you for your ser­vice be­cause I think Amer­ica has fi­nally rec­og­nized that a lot of our sol­diers pay the ul­ti­mate price,” Lang­ford said. “We need to pay trib­ute to those in­di­vid­u­als who not only served in Viet­nam, but also World War I and II. It’s some­thing that I tried to ed­u­cate to my stu­dents when I was teach­ing JROTC. Free­dom is not free and a lot of peo­ple made ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fices [like] leav­ing their fam­i­lies and some of them didn’t come back.”

Lang­ford said hav­ing an op­por­tu­nity to serve is both a bless­ing and a curse. Al­though the mil­i­tary has made tremen­dous ad­vance­ments with medicine and tech­nol­ogy – in help­ing sol­diers and vet­er­ans re­ha­bil­i­tate post-war – Lang­ford said a lot of them suf­fer from post trau­matic stress dis­or­der and other se­ri­ous men­tal and health is­sues.

“When you look at the cur­rent war that we have right now in Iraq and with ter­ror­ism and everything else, it’s a dif­fer­ent type of war be­cause many of our sol­diers are com­ing back with miss­ing limbs and arms while some of them didn’t come back,” he said. “My­self and a lot of my friends are a part of Rolling Thun­der. Our pri­mary mis­sion is to ed­u­cate the pub­lic. They need to know that we have to have ac­count­abil­ity for those miss­ing in ac­tion.”

Rolling Thun­der and its mis­sion be­gan as a demon­stra­tion fol­low­ing the Viet­nam War era, wherein many of Amer­ica’s mil­i­tary sol- diers were killed or miss­ing in ac­tion (MIA) and their re­mains were not be­ing re­turned home or re­spect­fully buried. There were also re­ports of live pris­on­ers of war (POW) who were left be­hind when the war ended. Rolling Thun­der strives to af­fect na­tional pol­icy in a way that will as­sist POWs and MIAs. In ad­di­tion to in­tro­duc­ing and get­ting the Miss­ing Ser­vice Per­son­nel Act of 1993 passed, the or­ga­ni­za­tion hosts its an­nual mo­tor­cy­cle rid­ing and gath­er­ing event – the First Amend­ment Demon­stra­tion Run – which takes place right be­fore Me­mo­rial Day, ac­cord­ing to the Rolling Thun­der web­site.

Aside from be­ing re­tired twice, Lang­ford said he does dif­fer­ent things for vet­er­ans which in­cludes vis­it­ing the Char­lotte Hall Vet­er­ans Home, be­ing in­volved with pro­grams like the Wounded Warrior Project and serv­ing on the board of directors for Ed­u­care, a home­less shel­ter for vet­er­ans.

“It’s re­ally an honor be­cause when we go out to Char­lotte Hall and we see and in­ter­act with the vet­er­ans there who have out­lived their fam­ily, it’s an in­spi­ra­tion and it’s also a re­minder that one day I might be in that same seat,” said Lang­ford. “It’s to let them know that they’re not for­got­ten and it’s an honor just to be in their pres­ence. … That, to me, is an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for our el­ders, for those who have gone be­fore us and everything else. It’s a good feel­ing just to give back.”

STAFF PHOTO BY JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES

Re­tired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Cor­nell Lang­ford bends down as County Ad­min­is­tra­tive Judge Adams places a medal around his neck in honor of his 30 years of ser­vice. Lang­ford taught aero­space science for about 15 years in the Prince Ge­orge’s County Pub­lic Schools sys­tem. He is a former Ju­nior Re­serve Of­fi­cer Train­ing Corps in­struc­tor at Sur­rattsville High School in Clin­ton, where he re­tired in 2012.

Prince Ge­orge’s County Sher­iff Melvin C. High signs a muster log cer­tifi­cate af­ter be­ing hon­ored for his mil­i­tary ser­vice at the cer­e­mony. High is a mem­ber of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Black Law En­force­ment Ex­ec­u­tives, In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Chiefs of Po­lice, As­so­ci­a­tion of FBI Na­tional Academy Grad­u­ates, Vir­ginia As­so­ci­a­tion of Chiefs of Po­lice, Hamp­ton Roads Chiefs of Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion, Mary­land Chiefs of Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion and the Mary­land and Na­tional Sher­iffs as­so­ci­a­tions.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES

Parker, right, and other Army vet­er­ans stand and salute as the U.S. Army Brass Quin­tet band per­forms their an­them dur­ing an Armed Forces med­ley.

Re­tired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Glynn E. Parker, who served in reg­u­lar ac­tive duty for 27 years, shakes hands with Sev­enth Ju­di­cial Cir­cuit Ad­min­is­tra­tive Judge Sheila R. Tiller­son Adams as he is hon­ored at the 7th An­nual Vet­er­ans Muster and Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Cer­e­mony on May 19 at the Prince Ge­orge’s County Court­house in Up­per Marl­boro. Parker now serves as a com­mis­sioner for the Mary­land Vet­er­ans Home and Char­lotte Hall Vet­er­ans Home in St. Mary’s County.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.