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Gordon: Whether via parade, ceremony or programming, take time on Memorial Day to honor those who gave all | COMMENTARY

What is Memorial Day? For many it’s a nice three-day weekend with a cookout, the unofficial start of summer, or the opportunity to “save” money with sales this weekend at Home Depot, Best Buy, or countless other businesses. Last, but certainly not least and most importantly it is a day to honor and mourn those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and died in the performance of their military duties while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Since last year and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have in many ways followed a phrase utilized by the U.S. Marine Corps which is  “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.” During this time we have had to adjust and pivot while persevering and carrying on our time honored traditions and beliefs. Last year wasn’t a typical Memorial Day in Westminster, but it was recognized and those traditions still carried on.

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This year we are still adapting and overcoming the obstacles around us as we are returning to a sense of normalcy. Unfortunately, this year I won’t be able to stand on Main Street where I did as a child and watch the Memorial Day parade with my father, both grandfathers who served in World War II, and my childhood neighbor who served in World War I.

According to Carroll Post 31 American Legion website, “We at Carroll Post #31 are sad to announce that due to COVID-19, and in accordance with social distancing guidelines still in place, that in order to hold a ceremony, we will need to proceed as we did last year, with a virtual event”, and not an in-person parade and ceremony. We hope that you can understand the City and County’s desire for safety over ceremony.”

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In its place on Monday, May 31 the Community Media Center will present special Memorial Day Programming starting at 10 a.m. on cable channel HD-1086 and channel 19, to include Carroll Post 31, The American Legion of Westminster, MD 154th Memorial Day Remembrance Program, The American Legion Hampstead Post 200 Memorial Day Services. A special rebroadcast of CMC’s “Letters to Home” featuring letters from soldiers who were lost during wartime, to their families here in Carroll County. Plus, veteran interviews from the Carroll County History Projects Oral History Collection, as a tribute to local veterans who have passed.

For more information visit, www.carrollmediacenter.org/memorial-day-2021.

There will also be live events held in Taneytown on Memorial Day this year. The city is hosting a Memorial Day ceremony and asks that people join them in solemn memory of those who have fallen. The ceremony will be held at Memorial Park at the War Memorial at 10 a.m. The ceremony will include color/honor guard, bugler, and gun salute provided by the Monocacy Valley Memorial Post 6918.

“I am very excited to bring parades back to Taneytown, and I think celebrating our veterans is perhaps the best reason! I know that other communities pulled the plug on their events, but we have been determined to see this through and help our residents honor those who have served,” said Mayor Bradley J. Wantz of Taneytown.

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Later that afternoon at 1 p.m. there will be a Memorial Day community parade held in Taneytown with the parade route along East Baltimore Street from Broad Street to Grand Drive. Spectators are encouraged to wear masks when appropriate distancing is not possible.

“Stopping to remember what those men and women did by giving their lives for our country helps us to better appreciate the freedom that we have, to better understand who we are as a nation. It isn’t a difficult thing for us to do — to reflect and to remember and to honor them in some way — but it is essential if we are serious about being Americans. It also matters because, in many ways, those men and women were like us. They had their own dreams and lives but they also had the courage to give these up to protect us. And if we can’t stop our own lives for a few minutes each year to consider what they did, then we are not worthy of the sacrifice they made for us,” said Taneytown Council Member Joe Vigliotti.

Regardless of how you spend your Memorial Day this year please take time to pause, honor, and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Tom Gordon writes from Westminster. He writes every other Saturday. Email him at tgordonwrites@gmail.com.

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