At cemeteries and memorials, services honor Md. veterans

November 12, 1995|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Marylanders paused from leaf-raking and football yesterday to honor veterans at numerous Veterans Day services around the state.

They gathered at veterans cemeteries and war memorials in several counties as well as at the Maryland Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Baltimore and the Maryland State Veterans Cemetery in Owings Mills.

Yesterday's rain came too late to affect most services. But at an afternoon gathering at the Maryland Homeless Veterans Center in Baltimore, a driving rain and strong winds forced more than 100 people to scramble from the parking lot into a large meeting room.

Once inside, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, echoed Veterans Day pronouncements from around the state when he said: "It's the veterans and the sacrifices they made that make it possible for us to live in liberty and democracy."

He mentioned homeless veterans, estimated to number 270,000 in the United States. "We don't want to forget any of our veterans," he said.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke also focused on homeless veterans -- because the service also marked the first anniversary of the Maryland Homeless Veterans Center on North High Street behind the main post office.

With expansion plans under way, the center provides homes for about 85 veterans, as well as counseling, education and job training. Mr. Schmoke said more than 1,700 veterans are homeless in Baltimore -- about 20 percent of all homeless people in the city.

It's a bitter irony, Mr. Schmoke said, that some of those who served and sacrificed for their country have fallen on such hard times. Programs offering multifaceted services, such as this one in Baltimore, are worthy of praise, he said -- especially on Veterans Day.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Schmoke attended the Veterans Day memorial service aboard the Liberty ship John W. Brown, docked at the Inner Harbor.

The service featured a ceremony in which a wreath of red and white carnations was tossed into the harbor in honor of fallen veterans. The carnations fell away one by one as the wreath floated toward the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

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