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Service recognizes those who gave their all

May 26, 2003|BY MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Depicting America's fallen veterans as those men and women who sacrificed "their today for our tomorrows," U. S. Army Col. John E. Ball delivered an emotional speech at Sunday's 17th annual Memorial Day ceremony in front of Boonsboro Town Hall.

"I'm here to honor the more than half million patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom throughout America's history," Ball said. "And your attendance here clearly sends a signal that you support them ... that this day means more than a picnic in the park or a dip in a pool."

Ball said no one in America has the luxury anymore of thinking that freedom is something that can be taken for granted. That all came to an end on Sept. 11, 2001.

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Still, the individual and personal sacrifices made every day by military personnel remind all Americans of those contributions.

Ball spoke of three young soldiers who died recently while serving in Iraq as they responded to the cries for help from a pregnant woman who stepped out of a car which then exploded, killing her and the three soldiers.

"Their act of kindness cost them their lives," Ball said.

Garrison commander at nearby Fort Detrick, Md., Ball said he prepared for Sunday's event by reading up on Boonsboro and its rich history.

"I learned that it was in Boonsboro that the first monument to George Washington was erected," Ball said of the first Washington Monument, which was built in 1827 and stands atop South Mountain overlooking Boonsboro.

Ball said he also learned that many homes in the Boonsboro area were used as hospitals during the Battle of Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862, and the lesser-known Battle of South Mountain fought just three days earlier.

Sunday's well-attended event preceded the traditional Memorial Day parade through the downtown.

Members of Clopper-Michael American Legion Post 10 and auxiliary laid wreaths at the monument honoring all veterans in front of Town Hall.

"We live in Funkstown now but we are originally from Boonsboro," said Beverly Patterson as she watched her husband, Howard "Pat" Patterson, lay one of the wreaths at the monument Sunday.

The two new flagpoles adjacent to the monument also were acknowledged at the ceremony by Boonsboro Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman Jr.

"We're proud of these flagpoles and especially proud of the flags on top of them," Kauffman said. The flagpoles recently were donated by the American Legion post in Boonsboro.

The Rev. Charles Holder gave the invocation and benediction and Betty Snyder sang several patriotic songs.

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