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Joining patriotism with remembrance

May 23, 2002|BY KEVIN CLAPP

kevinc@herald-mail.com

Robert E. Glausier came home from two wars, but so many did not.

"It's important to remember and honor those who have made it possible to live in this republic," says the 70-year-old Marine Corps veteran. "It's a time to memorialize those who did not make it back, who paid the ultimate sacrifice."

From Sacramento, Calif., to Salem, Mass., and all points in between, it has never been more important than now at a serious, solemn time for America to honor those who have made freedom possible.

In a small gesture capping nearly a week of Memorial Day observances, the Joint Veterans Council will hold a ceremony at Martin L. "Marty" Snook Park in Halfway Thursday, May 30, at 9 a.m.

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May 30 is the official marking of Memorial Day, which dates back to post-Civil War times and is observed annually on the last Monday in May. The park houses a Veterans Memorial Wall. On tap for the program: a keynote address by Thomas E. Bratten Jr., Maryland Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Bratten, a U.S. Army veteran, has served as secretary since October 1999. He served on the Maryland Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission from 1984 to 1989; the Maryland Veterans Commission between 1987 and 1993; and in 1990 was named the Governor's Disabled Marylander of the Year.

A 21-year career Marine before retiring in February 1970, Glausier served in Korea and Vietnam. The second-year president of the Joint Veterans Council, made up of area veterans groups, says the uptick in patriotism since Sept. 11 is unrivaled since the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor more than 50 years ago.

It is not, Glausier says, a coincidence.

"It's the first rise in patriotism in this country since World War II, and I believe it's only because we were attacked again on American soil," he says. "When we returned ... Korea was close enough to World War II most people remembered. But when it came to Vietnam, a lot of people literally spit on veterans returning home."

For Speener Hose's generation, recognition is becoming more critical as the ranks of World War II veterans continue to dwindle.

Hose, 78, spent 16 years in the Navy, retiring in 1958. Most of his comrades are in their 80s, with more dying each year.

"The way we're dying off, 10 more years from now you'll have to scratch around to find a World War II veteran," he says.

Both Hose and Glausier say more young people than ever before seem to be taking an interest in preserving the memory of old soldiers. The hope is that it won't be a passing fad, as memory of last year's terrorist attack recedes from memory. Hose doesn't think it will happen.

"I hated to see anything happen," Hose says of Sept. 11. "But there's some good come out of it, I think."

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