With parade and prayers, residents offer a Memorial Day 'thank you'

June 01, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

It didn't matter whether the sound blared from a trumpet or fell quietly from the lips of a civilian waving a small American flag.

The message delivered yesterday during the 126th annual Memorial Day Exercises in Westminster was a clear, unmistakable "thank you" to the men and women who fought to protect the American way of life.

"This is not only a day to remember what has happened, but to remember what we have," the Rev. Arthur Valenzano of St. John's Roman Catholic Church told the hundreds who gathered at Westminster Cemetery after the 10 a.m. parade.

The sun peeked from behind the heavy clouds as a brisk wind bent treetops along the parade route from Maryland Avenue to Church Street and whipped Old Glory to and fro as it flew at half-staff in the cemetery.

But the chilly air didn't stop spectators from setting up beach chairs, sitting on newspaper boxes or huddling for warmth as they watched civic groups and marching bands celebrate the holiday.

"It's like Veterans Day, where we celebrate all the people who fought in the wars," said Mitchell Stewart, who sat in a lawn chair in front of his home on Main Street and celebrated his 12th birthday amid the cheers and music. "I like the big Army trucks."

The parade ended at the cemetery, where prayers were spoken and thanks were given.

Westminster High School junior Sarah Azizi recited Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address as the wind repeatedly whipped her long, dark hair in front of her eyes.

Carroll County Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr., a former Marine and currently commandant of the Maryland Military Academy in Baltimore County, delivered a Memorial Day address urging citizens to honor the soldiers who died for American ideals by turning back to family values.

"If each of us adopt the values of honesty, integrity, competence and selflessness, and act in a way that gives fundamental credence to them in our conduct, our thoughts and our approach to others, the process of positive change might begin," said Judge Beck, a colonel in the Maryland National Guard.

"We owe it to those who gave their lives for us not to squander their precious legacy on permissiveness, selfishness, corruption, demoralization and violence," he said.

Gunnery Sgt. Dean Remington, a Marine recruiter in Westminster, watched from the sidewalk as his sons, Kurt, 10, and Kyle, 9, marched with their Cub Scout troop in the parade.

As a Marine, Sergeant Remington said, he was honored by the holiday celebration.

But as a patriot, he said, he believes the day belongs to those who served before him, the ones who no longer wear the uniform in active service.

"I get the pleasure of wearing a uniform everyday," said Sergeant Remington as his wife, Patti, and daughter, Megan, ran ahead to find Kurt and Kyle after the parade. "This is a day for those who fought before. They get to wear the uniform once a year.

"Everyone always goes up to the ones in uniform and talks to them," the sergeant said. "Well, today, let them [the veterans] get the pat on the back."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.