(OCEAN PINES, Mar.) - The Worcester County Veterans Memorial at Ocean Pines Foundation was established in 2004 to maintain a memorial. Every year the nonprofit holds ceremonies on its grounds
on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
This year's Veterans Day tribute marks the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, but the memorial honors veterans of all wars.
President of the Worcester County Veterans Memorial at Ocean Pines Foundation, Marie Gilmore, says they have bricks in the ground from all over the United States.
Ocean Pines donated the land for the memorial in 2003 and it was completed and dedicated to the Worcester County Veterans Memorial in 2005 on Memorial Day to honor all who have served."
Gilmore says they've had a ceremony on site ever since.
Lieutenant Commander Lee O'Connor is the Combat Director of Surface Combat Systems at Wallops Island. He delivers a speech in the ceremony to thank everyone currently serving and all who have served. "To be able to say 'thank you' to the veterans who have come before me to blaze the path of freedom, to blaze the path of leadership, have set in stone and set enforced policies that have enabled myself and those that I have served with, and those who have served after me to be the greatest fighting force in the world," says O'Connor.
Ocean Pines is home to many veterans that attend this tribute every year, accepting everyone's thanks and honoring other veterans themselves.
Sarge Garlitz is the District Commander for the Department of Maryland South Eastern Shore American Legion. He's been to every ceremony at this memorial since the beginning. "It feels very good because they thank you for your service. Right now the camaraderie we have of all these veterans is good to get together and where we come from at post 166 in Ocean City, every day is Veterans Day and we thank them for serving and we thank their families for the support they give."
Frank DelPiano, Commandant at the Marine Corps League First State Detachment adds, "We're all veterans. We all put time in. I served 24 years in the Marine Corps. We served our country and we're here to celebrate."
Gilmore says, "The sacrifice of the veteran and the family is tremendous to go away, be out of the country for a lot of them. Veterans Day is a happy day that we just get to say 'thank you, thank you for your service."
Every year, the Worcester County Veterans Memorial holds a flag disposal ceremony on the Saturday following the Veteran's Day tribute. This year's is set to take place on November 17th at 9 am. Faded or worn American Flags can be dropped off before or after to be ceremoniously burned. The burning takes about 3-4 hours.