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200 gather for Memorial Day event at Rest Haven

May 26, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN -- The first few moments of the annual Memorial Day celebration at Rest Haven Cemetery were spent finding the event's bagpipe player.

"There he is."

"He's near the entrance."

"He's on the hill."

The 200 people gathered at the Hagerstown cemetery Monday joined in the search and soon found the musician. With a signal from Rest Haven owner Charles Brown, the man began to play "Amazing Grace."

Monday's event focused largely on music, and Ken and Debi Canfield of Hagerstown said they most enjoy the performance of echo taps that they've heard at the ceremony each year. The couple have attended for at least three years, they said.

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There were 10 bugle players Monday in different parts of the cemetery playing taps. The couple described the performance as "solemn."

"It's just our way of showing respect for veterans and for the day," Ken said. "I just think about the right that we have to be here today and who gave it to us."

Joan Schupp of Hagerstown said she usually walks along the narrow roads in the cemetery, which are always lined with flags. Brown said there were 300 flags in the cemetery Monday. Each one has the name of a veteran who is buried at Rest Haven.

"It makes you think about the lives that were given for our country," Schupp said.

When a serviceman or servicewoman dies, the government gives the family a flag, Brown said.

"Sometimes, the family will donate those flags to us," he said. "We fly those flags here."

Schupp, who was wearing red, white and blue, said she attended the event in part to support her husband, Edward Schupp, who was playing the French horn as part of a quintet performing during the service.

Wayne Ross of Hagerstown, who served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, said Memorial Day is a time to remember veterans. He attended Monday's event with his wife, Sylvia Ross.

Wayne said he has been attending Memorial Day events since he was a boy, and while the day has kept its meaning, the celebration surrounding it has changed.

"There would be a parade," he said. "And I was in the high school band, and I always marched in the Memorial Day parade."

Boy Scouts, he said, would read the Gettysburg Address.

"It's lost a little bit, but it's still remembrance," Wayne said.

John Angle of Greencastle, Pa., was drafted during the Vietnam War but was unable to serve due to a heart problem.

"I didn't even know I had it until they found it," he said.

Angle said he has been attending the Rest Haven event since it began about 20 years ago.

"I feel like I owe it to the ones (who did serve)," he said.

Brown said the event helps the community remember the day and those who died in service to their country.

"We just don't pay enough attention to the sacrifices that so many people have made for the country," he said. "People are forgetting what Memorial Day means."

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