Dorchester remembers veterans for service and sacrifice

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff Gene Cheesman, who joined the military at 19 and served from 1969 to 1970 with the 20th Combat Engineers in Vietnam, looks for a seat with his granddaughter, Brooklyne Camper, who turns 2 in December, before the beginning of the Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11 at the Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery in Beulah.

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff
Gene Cheesman, who joined the military at 19 and served from 1969 to 1970 with the 20th Combat Engineers in Vietnam, looks for a seat with his granddaughter, Brooklyne Camper, who turns 2 in December, before the beginning of the Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11 at the Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery in Beulah.

HURLOCK — “Today we honor the contributions, the sacrifices of nearly 24 million living veterans who have served our country in the name of liberty and justice,” said Ronnie James, chairman of the Maryland Veterans’ Cemetery Committee.

Mr. James, a retired Navy veteran who was raised on the Eastern Shore and served two tours in Vietnam, was one of the speakers Friday at the Veterans Day ceremony held at the Eastern Shore Veterans’ Cemetery. North Dorchester Middle School also hosted a Friday ceremony to honor veterans.

Navy Chief Petty Officer Tim Kroeger spoke at NDMS. He said he joined the Navy to help make the world a better place. While the U.S. military is known as the strongest in the world, Mr. Kroeger said service members are deployed across the globe and working in communities worldwide. As an example, he said the Navy deployed three ships to help Haiti after Hurricane Matthew.

“Even though the military is fighting the war against terrorism all around the world,” Mr. Kroeger said, “we send our young people all over the world and while they’re there, they’re serving those local communities demonstrating to them what it means to be an American.”
He said many people in the world have a low opinion of Americans, but military members have an opportunity to change minds.

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Department Color Guard prepares to present colors during the Friday Veterans Day Ceremony at North Dorchester Middle School. At left is NDMS Chorus Director Kevin Lewis and Sheriff James Phillips Jr. is at right.

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff
The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Department Color Guard prepares to present colors during the Friday Veterans Day Ceremony at North Dorchester Middle School. At left is NDMS Chorus Director Kevin Lewis and Sheriff James Phillips Jr. is at right.

“To me that work (in worldwide communities) is obviously the most important work the military does, actually getting out there and helping the world citizens that need us,” Mr. Kroeger said. “The military is about service, but you don’t have to be in the military to serve others. You can be a teacher or you can be a police officer, a nurse. You can help in a soup kitchen or go volunteer in a homeless shelter to serve. The world would be a little bit better place if we spend just a little bit of time helping others.”
At the Eastern Shore Veterans’ Cemetery, Mr. James spoke about honoring the many sacrifices veterans have made through the years.

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 648 hold a ceremonial Lowering of the Colors on Veterans Day at Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery.

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff
Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 648 hold a ceremonial Lowering of the Colors on Veterans Day at Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery.

“Today, Nov. the 11 is Veterans’ Day, a day that salutes all who served regardless of where or when. It is heir day; we should equally share with our families who also sacrificed for the service the veteran gave,” Mr. James said. “From the jungles of Vietnam to the mountains of Afghanistan, from Baghdad to Pork Chop Hill to the Persian Gulf, our veterans have borne the cost of America’s wars and continue to stand watch over America’s peace. Today is their day. Today is their day to stand just a little bit taller and be recognized by a grateful nation.”

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff The North Dorchester Middle School Chorus performs a patriotic song during the NDMS Veterans Day ceremony.

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff
The North Dorchester Middle School Chorus performs a patriotic song during the NDMS Veterans Day ceremony.

According to Mr. James, one out of every five adults is a veteran. That number is quickly diminishing. As World War II and Vietnam veterans die, the military is also shrinking.

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff Groups honoring veterans lay wreaths during the Veterans Day ceremony at Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery.

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff
Groups honoring veterans lay wreaths during the Veterans Day ceremony
at Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery.

“We must thank our veterans because we are able to live freely and gather here today because of their service to others,” Mr. James said. “Around the world, veterans have broken the shackles of tyranny, unleashed the chains of bondage and emancipated entire nations from oppression. Veterans have lifted the cloak of darkness, oppression and desperation and replaced it with an inextinguishable light that is the spirit of freedom and liberty.”

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