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Parade, speeches highlight Boonsboro activities

May 28, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

BOONSBORO - One of the legacies of soldiers who die far from home is the children they leave behind, a retired U.S. military officer told people gathered Sunday for Memorial Day weekend festivities in Boonsboro.

Col. Orlyn Oestereich read a letter one girl wrote to her father, Command Sgt. Major James Blankenbecler, after he was killed in action.

"I know you are gone now, but it only means that I have another angel watching over me for the rest of my life," Oestereich said.

Jessica Bundle, the mother of a 10-year girl who planned to walk in Boonsboro's parade, said she came to watch her daughter's baton-twirling group. Today's holiday has special meaning for her, she said, because she and her husband both served in the military.

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"It's important that we remember all those, everybody that's given up so much, especially everyone who's paid the ultimate price to have what we have," said Bundle of Hagerstown.

Bundle's daughter, Kylie, is a member of Washington County ShowKids, Bundle said.

Hope Covert of Hagerstown said she attended the parade to watch her daughter, 7-year-old Avery, perform with the group, which also marched Saturday in Sharpsburg.

"They liked it ... they were hot," said Covert, the wife and granddaughter of former military members.

Oestereich reminded people gathered for the parade along Main Street of soldiers' sacrifices. Veterans saluted the flag, and others held their hands to their hearts as three members of the Boonsboro High School band played taps.

Oestereich, who serves as an officer in the American Legion Department of Maryland, said the organization has established scholarships for the children of soldiers, sailors and Marines killed while on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001.

"These kids will survive the trauma," he said, "but they will never forget that their mothers or fathers died for them - and for America."

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