Respecting the true meaning of Memorial Day


LEST WE FORGET, there is more to Memorial Day than staging maneuvers in mall parking lots or laying siege to department stores.

Veterans, and those who salute them, will have several opportunities next Monday to remember. The traditional Memorial Day Parade in Annapolis will step off at 10 a.m. That will be preceded by a new commemorative event.

The Rev. Theodore Heyburn of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Annapolis will initiate what he hopes will become a Memorial Day custom here - a service at 9 a.m. at St. John Neumann, St. Mary's newly consecrated mission church on Bestgate Road.

Heyburn organized his first Memorial Day service in 1986 while at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Edgewater and made it a custom at other churches.

Not a veteran himself, he was inspired by a fellow Redemptorist priest, the late Rev. Morris McDonald, a World War II chaplain and veteran of D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. "Father McDonald told me, 'We can't forget what they did for us.' And that's something I've never forgotten."

The core of the service will be a Catholic Mass, although non-Catholics will be welcome. "We encourage people to bring memorabilia -- medals, photographs, uniforms -- to be displayed and shared," he said. "This is an important time for us."

The Anne Arundel County chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America will sponsor the parade. Jo Ann Snead, parade organizer and wife of a Vietnam vet, said 35 marching units will start at Amos Garrett Boulevard, proceed down West Street, then Main Street, to Susan Campbell Park. Ceremonies will conclude with a wreath-laying in Spa Creek.

Former Mayor Al Hopkins will march with the Naval Academy Class of 1943, of which he is an honorary member. He has marched in every parade since 1950, with one exception. He was recalled to the Navy for the Korean War and missed the 1951 parade.

In another ceremony, Randolph Purdy, president of the Annapolis branch of the Fleet Reserve Association and a Vietnam veteran, said members of his club will take a boat to the Severn River for a wreath-laying. "It's to honor our shipmates who are gone and now serving the Supreme Commander," he said."I just really believe in Memorial Day," said Snead, who works in career guidance at St. Mary's High School. "I think our young people are going to lose that sense of service if they don't remember what those men and women did."

Listen up

Commissioning Week activities continue at the Naval Academy, concluding Wednesday with graduation. Tomorrow, with the Color Parade at 11 a.m. and the Blue Angels flight show at 1:30 p.m., Annapolis, already crowded with family and friends of Mids, seems destined to have an epochal traffic jam.

There will be no vehicle access to the Academy grounds, and driving downtown will be fit only for those who have taken complete leave of their senses.

So, park at the Navy Marine Corps Stadium and take a shuttle downtown. That's an order.

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