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The Patriot Guard Riders stand at attention holding American flags at Monday's Memorial Day 2012 observance to honor those fallen in the line of duty. They formed a line through which the Color Guards passed to the Circle of Immortals at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. Westminster's Matt Seidler, who died in January 2012, was among those honored.
The Patriot Guard Riders stand at attention holding American flags at Monday's Memorial Day 2012 observance to honor those fallen in the line of duty. They formed a line through which the Color Guards passed to the Circle of Immortals at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. Westminster's Matt Seidler, who died in January 2012, was among those honored. (Photo by Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun)

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.

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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:

Among these recently fallen is Carroll County's own Matthew R. Seidler, 24, an Airman First Class in theU.S. Air Force 21st Engineer Squadron.

Seidler, a 2006 graduate of Westminster High School, studied at Carroll Community College and Stevenson College, in Baltimore County before he enlisted in the Air Force in 2009.

He was killed during combat operations in Afghanistan's Hellman Province on Jan. 5 when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. Two other members of his squadron were also killed in the blast.

At the time, Seidler was working as part of an elite Air Force bomb disposal squadron. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for heroism, a Purple Heart, an Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Force Combat Action Medal and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

His parents, Marc and Lauren, of Westminster were guests of honor at the ceremony, which 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.

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, Seidler was remembered as a "fun-loving and caring person who could always brighten your day" and "always stood up for what he believed in."

Second District U.S. Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, who also spoke, echoed what Seidler's father Marc said at his son's funeral when he said Seidler, "always knew his calling was in the Air Force as a bomb technician."

Ruppersberger added that Seidler, like his fallen comrades, was "one of those regular, ordinary people who accomplished the extraordinary."

Seidler's parents did not speak at the ceremony, but in a recent interview with the publication, The Military Times, his mother Lauren remembered her son as "a quiet hero ... who didn't like a lot of attention to himself."

Seidler's squadron commander, in the same article, described him as an "amazing young man" who kept himself in tremendous physical shape and excelled at what he did.

The brief biographical sketches of Seidler and the other half-dozen Marylanders posthumously 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.

Chow 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, he said, 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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