Veterans Day 2002 was a day of remembrance and dedication - the day set aside each year to remind all Americans that, in the words of one retired soldier yesterday, "freedom is not free."
Many who died were solemnly remembered - such as Finksburg's Joseph A. Farinholt.
Others, such as Robert I. Brooks of Govans, shared their stories with family.
And at one of yesterday's many ceremonies, ground was broken for a new wall to honor the Marylanders among the 1 million Americans killed in war - a replacement for the one razed at Memorial Stadium that had been dedicated to those who died in the two world wars.
Amid marching band music and a presentation of the colors yesterday, about 200 veterans and others attended the ceremony for the memorial-in-the-making at Camden Yards that is to replace the Memorial Stadium wall.
The new memorial near the south side of the Eutaw Street warehouse wall near Oriole Park will highlight the best-known line in the old stadium's original stainless steel lettering, which was saved from the facade on East 33rd Street: "Time Will Not Dim the Glory of Their Deeds."
In a brief address, retired Col. Erwin A. Burtnick, commissioner of the Maryland Veterans Commission, called the new memorial a timely reminder that "Freedom is not free."
Michael E. Bolinger of CSD, principal architect on the project, said the 11-foot-tall, gently curving walls will be made mostly of black granite with a touch of rose. The letters will be lighted at night, and a bench at the memorial will allow visitors to sit and reflect, he said.
An urn housed in the old stadium containing soil from all American military cemeteries overseas will be prominently displayed under glass as another symbolic link to the new memorial, along with a plaque explaining Memorial Stadium's place in city history.
The site was chosen because hundreds of thousands of people pass by every year - not only sports fans from Baltimore and beyond, but also light rail passengers, tourists and Baltimore Marathon runners.
Maurine Hill, a retired Army nurse who served in Vietnam, had one word when asked how she liked the memorial. "Great!" she said.
Robert I. Brooks, 72, of Govans spent three years gambling for rations and bartering with Chinese guards as a prisoner during the Korean War.
"You come into survival of the fittest," Brooks said. He was in a prison in North Korea run by the Chinese. "You robbed the dead for survival."
Brooks was 15 when he enlisted - with the consent of his grandmother. He was 18 when he arrived in Korea.
Brooks, a private first class, formed a group in prison - the Golden Cross - with about 15 prisoners. They depended on one another for survival.
"You've got to have somebody to protect your back," Brooks said. He has a tattoo of the group's symbol - a cross - on the base of his left thumb.
He laughed as he recalled a fellow prisoner who sneaked out of the prison camp only to sneak back in with a bottle of sake for the prisoners' Christmas party.
A minute later, Brooks stopped in the middle of a story with his shaking hand held about three feet in the air. He couldn't speak for a moment as he fought back tears.
He told of the time he was marching through a South Korean town after his capture and saw bodies stacked as high as he was holding his hand, one on top of the other, in a fenced area.
The days in prison passed into years, and his fellow prisoners became like family.
"The whole time we were in there dreaming about what we were going to when we got back," said Brooks, a retired General Motors employee.
Freedom finally came when he was 21. His family in Reidsville, N.C., thought he was dead.
Yesterday, he shared his story with two of his six children, Lawrence Brooks, 44, and Sandra Okwaye, 46, as they flipped through an album of pictures from his days in the military.
Joseph A. Farinholt rarely missed an opportunity to honor veterans. They returned the favor yesterday at the Veterans Day service in Westminster with a 21-gun salute and words of praise for the World War II hero who died in June at age 79.
At Longwell Armory, Maj. Drew Sullins, who has researched Farinholt's combat history in an effort to win him the Medal of Honor, recounted Farinholt's exploits.
"Joe falls in line with the nation's heroes, but he would not like me to say that. If he were here today, he would whack me with his cane," Sullins said. "His was an amazing piece of soldiering."
Seated in the front row with her granddaughter's arm clasped around her shoulders, Agnes "Reds" Farinholt listened to the familiar accounts of her husband's valor. She wore the white uniform of the 29th Division Association Auxiliary and a cap filled with replicas of her husband's medals.