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Fallen are honored at area Memorial Day ceremonies

May 28, 2002|BY MARLO BARNHART and TARA REILLY

marlob@herald-mail.com and tarar@herald-mail.com

Despite the wave of patriotism that has swept the nation since Sept. 11, attendance at three Sunday morning Memorial Day ceremonies was sparse.

But the traditional 2 p.m. ceremony in front of the Washington County Courthouse attracted more than 100 veterans and onlookers as wreaths were laid to commemorate veterans of all wars.

"It's so important that we honor our past comrades who gave the supreme sacrifice," said Ted Dundus, a veteran of more than 41 years in the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard. Dundus laid the wreath for the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 14.

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"Last year on Memorial Day, we were at peace ... today we are a nation at war against terrorism," said Ruth Ungvarsky, adjutant of Morris Frock Post 42. "We've all learned that freedom is not free."

Also laying wreaths in front of the courthouse were representatives of World War I and II; the Korean and Vietnam wars; several units and auxiliaries from Morris Frock American Legion Post 42; Washington County and Western Maryland District of the American Legion; 40 et 8 Voiture 651; Joint Veterans Council; Lantern Post 729 of the 29th Infantry Division Association; Catholic war veterans and auxiliary; Washington County AMVETS and auxiliary; William Byron VFW Post 1936 and auxiliary; VFW pup tent 7; Order of Cooties; Hagerstown Elks Club; Marine Corps League; Knights of Columbus; and Sons and Daughters of Italy.

Funkstown's American Legion Dixon-Troxell Post 211 and its ladies auxiliary held brief wreath-laying ceremonies Sunday at two war memorials - one in front of the post and the other at the town's square on East Baltimore and Frederick streets.

Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington; Del. Chris Shank, R-Washington; Del. Bob McKee, R-Washington; Funkstown Mayor Robert Kline and about 25 others were on hand for the event.

Kline said the event draws a bigger crowd every year.

"Memorial Day is a day to remember our veterans who fought to keep our nation free," Auxiliary President Lori Bryan said before the ceremonies.

Post Commander Lynn Spalding said the Memorial Day ceremonies are held every year to commemorate those who died while serving the country.

"We want to give thanks to our fallen brothers and sisters who made it possible for us to be here today," Spalding said during the ceremony.

Kline, Spalding and Bryan laid three wreaths in front of the war memorials.

Maj. Mark Dilandro said giving thanks to servicemen and servicewomen who died was more immediate than reflective, in light of the current war on terrorism.

He also said more than 1 million Americans have died over the years while on active duty.

"Their legacy will continue to live on in our memory, and we will honor them now as we will honor those who come after them," Dilandro said.

Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown will hold its annual Memorial Day service at 10 a.m. today.

War Memorial Park in Martinsburg, W.Va., will also have activities today, with a memorial service for veterans beginning at 10 a.m.

Tonight at 6, the U.S. Marine Band will kick off the summer military band season at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park's Visitors Center with Music in the Mountains.

On Thursday, the Joint Veterans Council of Washington County is planning a Memorial Day ceremony at Martin L. "Marty" Snook Park in Halfway beginning at 9 a.m.

Smithsburg's Memorial Day activities are Thursday at 7 p.m. in the town's Veterans Park.

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