Worcester County Veterans Memorial service returns, addition of new panel honoring Vietnam soldiers
OCEAN PINES, Md. – Praise and cheers were the sounds that swept the grounds of the Worcester County Veterans Memorial on Monday, as the annual Memorial Day service honored the brave U.S. Military personnel who gave their lives to their country.
“So we owe them our gratitude and the very least we can do is be here today to say thank you for your service,” Worcester County Sheriff Matt Crisafulli said.
“This is our opportunity as a community to come together and to do something tangible. To gather as a community and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Maryland Senator Marybeth Carozza said.
Retired U.S. Navy Commander Joseph E. Parker was this year’s keynote speaker.
Commander Parker left Berlin in 1995 for the naval academy and has since traveled all over the world.
“It was my chance to honor the sacrifice of so many veterans who died in service for our country,” Commander Parker said. “I was really interested in coming back home and bringing all the things that I learned back to this area.”
What makes this year’s celebration special is the addition of The Wall That Heals panel. It has the name of 516 soldiers who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
The panel was part of the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial exhibit that visited Ocean Pines last April. It was gifted to the memorial site by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in Washington D.C.
“So to have this here permanently on display at the Worcester County Veterans Memorial is very special for our community,” Senator Carozza said.
Commander Parker says less than 1% percent of the U.S. population currently serves in the military, a number he says he’d like to see increase.
“Our community needs all of them so a lot of times what they find is there’s more to it than they thought there was before signing up. Then a lot of people stick with it for life,” Commander Parker said.