Seven Maryland service members who have been killed since last May will be honored Monday in a Memorial Day ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium.
Cyndi Ryan of the American Red Cross said that even though this is the first Memorial Day since the seven died, the emotions of family members are "not different from the grieving process they go through every day."
The holiday, however, gives the families a sense of pride that is vital so they know their family members have not been forgotten, said Ryan, a manager who works with the families of fallen service members.
The event will honor Marine Sgt. Julian C. Chase of Edgewater, Marine Lance Corp. Eugene C. Mills III of Laurel, Army Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Rodriguez of Baltimore, Army Staff Sgt. Brandon R. Pepper of Baltimore, Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick D. Feeks of Edgewater, Army Sgt. David V. Williams of Frederick and Army Capt. Sara Knutson-Cullen of Eldersburg.
Keynote speaker Bill Pencek, executive director of Star-Spangled 200, the state's celebration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, said his theme will be the tradition of venerating those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. This resonates in Maryland, he said, because "the tradition of giving honor and thanks to those who served is a long-standing one in Maryland and Baltimore."
Pencek plans to discuss the appreciation for those who lost their lives in war, with an emphasis on the War of 1812 due to its significance in history and the fact that Maryland played a key role.
Col. Linda L. Singh, director of the Maryland National Guard Joint Staff, who will deliver the memorial address, said she views Memorial Day as a time to celebrate her service as well as her fellow service members.
The holiday, she said, is about honoring "those who have fallen but also those who continue to serve."
She added, "It is easy to get caught up in picnics and visiting family, but Memorial Day is not about that, it is about giving thanks to all those that serve," past and present.
The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at the cemetery's Circle of Immortals.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun