Remembering duty, service and 'lost human potential'

There were many moving moments during Monday's annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, in Timonium.

The program included nearly two hours of musical selections by military bands and choral groups and prayers, along with presentations by a host of luminaries, including several military chaplains and Edward Chow Jr., secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs.

But some of the most poignant moments during the May 28 commemoration came in a presentation called "The Loved and Lost" — saluting the seven Marylanders who died in Afghanistan or elsewhere overseas between April 2011 and February of this year. Those honored are:

• Air Force Master Sgt. Tara Brown, of Bowie (died April 27, 2011).

• Army Sgt. Jameel Freeman, of Baltimore (Aug. 11, 2011).

• Army Sgt. Barun Rai, of Silver Spring (Aug, 3, 2011).

• Army Spec. Ronald Wildrick Jr., of Woodsboro, (Dec. 11, 2011).

• Airman 1st Class Matthew Seidler, of Westminster (Jan. 5, 2012).

• Air Force Senior Airman Julian Scholten, of Upper Marlboro (Feb. 18, 2012).

• Army Maj. Robert Marchanti II, of Baltimore (Feb. 25, 2012).

In a brief biographical snippet offered by radio commentator Alan Walden, who for the past 24 years has served as master of ceremonies for the event, each of the soldiers were remembered and thanked for their service.

The ceremony was held at the memorial garden's Circle of Immortals on a hot, but otherwise picture-perfect day, when bright sunlight and soft shadows fell across the fresh-mowed grass and hundreds of miniature American flags adorning the graves of veterans.

The brief biographical sketches of the Marylanders honored at Monday's ceremony provided the several hundred people in attendance with specific and vivid human examples of a truth that more than one speaker addressed in his or her remarks.

Second District U.S. Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger spoke, praising each fallen soldier, and Chow, a Vietnam War veteran, perhaps put it best when he reminded everyone that Memorial Day is a lot more than just a token nod to names carved, embossed or inscribed in cold stone or bronze.

Rather, it's a remembrance of "the lost hopes and dreams and the lost human potential of all the men and women who have died in the service of their country."

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