1868 tribute lasts in city

Memorial Day traditions run deep in Westminster

Parade set for tomorrow

Events continue elsewhere in county

May 30, 2004|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

When Gen. John A. Logan issued an order in 1868 to decorate the graves of Union soldiers on May 30, a Westminster woman took the order literally and began one of the longest-running Memorial Day observances in the nation.

"Mary Bostwick Shellman followed Gen. John. A. Logan's May 5, 1868, General Order No. 11 to adorn the graves of Union soldiers with flowers," said Westminster Mayor Kevin E. Dayhoff, also a local historian. "She gathered a group of schoolchildren for the task, and they walked from the old schoolhouse on Center Street to Westminster Cemetery."

Every year since, Westminster has honored its veterans with a Memorial Day service, said American Legion Post 31 Adjutant Tom Long.

Tomorrow, the post will continue the city's Memorial Day observances, starting with a parade at 10 a.m.

The parade will go from Monroe Street down Pennsylvania Avenue, turn east onto Main Street to Church Street and end at the Westminster Cemetery.

Emcee Skip Amass said the parade has 45 units in four sections: military, veterans, Boy and Cub Scouts, and civic groups. The parade will feature five bands, several antique cars, fire department vehicles and military equipment, including a World War II jeep pulling a piece of artillery.

The grand marshal will be Joe Heagy, a World War II veteran who served in the Army and Navy, said Daniel Bohn, parade committee chairman. The parade marshal will be Ron Hollingsworth, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and quartermaster of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Molleville Farm Post 467 in Westminster.

"Harry Emigh Jr., the parade marshal for several years, who just died, and Arthur Wilson, a past deceased member, will be honored with a car in the parade," Bohn said.

At the cemetery, already adorned with flags on veterans' graves, Maj. Brian Feser, a military science professor in charge of the ROTC program at McDaniel College, will be the keynote speaker.

Edith Burbage will sing the national anthem, and Emily Pritts will recite the Gettysburg Address, Bohn said. Civic groups will lay wreaths at the memorial, and Dayhoff will speak and present a wreath from the city.

Bohn is hoping for clear weather so the parade won't be canceled, as it was last year. In the event of heavy rain, the memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. at the National Guard Armory on Hahn Road.

Information: 410-857-7953 or 410-876-0746.

Other Memorial Day observances around the county include:

Taneytown Hesson-Snider American Legion Post 120 will begin its Memorial Day activities with a parade at 1 p.m. tomorrow. The parade, with about 20 units, will start at Memorial Park, go east on Baltimore Street to Broad Street to the American Legion.

A memorial program will begin about 2 p.m. after the parade. Speakers will be the Rev. Nicholas Brie, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, and Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, a Republican from Western Maryland.

Earl Wetzel Jr. will play taps, and the Boy Scouts will participate.

Refreshments will be served afterward. All are welcome.

Information: 410-756-2219.

American Legion Sykesville Memorial Post 223 will hold a Memorial Day service at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the post home, 7327 Slacks Road.

Bob Reigel, judge advocate for the post, will be the main speaker. The National Guard will fire a cannon volley for each branch of the service, and Boy Scout Troop 224 will play taps. Refreshments will be served afterward.

Yesterday, post members and Boy Scouts visited nine local cemeteries and placed 870 flags on the graves of veterans, said Curtis Hounshell, a post trustee. After a brief memorial service at Piney Run Park and a visit to the Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department, the group spent the day at the cemeteries.

Information: 410-795-7242.

American Legion Gold Star Post 191 of Mount Airy will hold its annual Memorial Day observance at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Pine Grove Chapel on South Main Street.

The community is invited to the service, which includes the laying of a wreath between the chapel's two monuments and the rendering of honors. The patriotic service also will feature guest speakers.

Information: 301-829-9161.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8806 will hold a Memorial Day service at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the post home, 115 Penrose St., Union Bridge.

Information: 410-775-2160.

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