It was the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Nearly 100 people from places like Glen Burnie, Severn and Fort Smallwood squeezed into a tiny chapel in Crownsville.
They came to Maryland State Veterans Cemetery yesterday to pay tribute to those both living and dead who have seen the horror of war.
The commemoration was in keeping with a tradition that began soon after "the war to end all wars" ended at 11 a.m. Nov. 11, 1918, with the signing of an armistice.
One veteran, 97-year-old William H. Sullivan, had served aboard the battleship Maine during that war.
Others, like County Councilman David G. Boschert, D-Crownsville, saw combat in World War II, Korea or Vietnam.
But this year, even as pride and patriotism filled the chapel in the form of a color guard, veterans groups' flags and even "Uncle Sam," a somber mood crept into the ceremony.
Many of the veterans and their families who gathered on behalf of the United Veterans of Anne Arundel County thought of their children and their friends' children and how they, too, might soon be called into battle.
"In Saudi Arabia today, God bless those men and women who we hope won't become veterans and wartime victims," said Robert N. Ford III, keynote speaker and adjutant for the the American Legion Department of Maryland, who called for politicians to stop treating veterans like welfare recipients.
"Those of you who have seen war, you do not want your children, your grandchildren to take part in that horror," he said.
Boschert, who served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, also stressed the importance of the day in light of the Persian Gulf crisis.
"Today is an important day because many of your sons and daughters are serving in the Middle East under a cloud of possible conflict," he said.
Even during his time in Vietnam, Boschert said, "It never gets out of your mind about what this day means."
During the ceremony, he asked veterans groups to support him in his effort to change the name of Route 3 northbound to Veterans Highway.
Once the State Highway Administration has completed the new Interstate 97, which runs from Annapolis to the Baltimore beltway, state officials will turn a seven-mile portion of Route 3 over to the county.
The name Veterans Highway would be in keeping with other county road names, such as Defense Highway and Generals Highway, the councilman said.
"It's only fitting that a highway be dedicated to the veterans of this state and nation," he said.
The United Veterans is an umbrella organization of such groups as the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and Jewish War Veterans of the United States.