Hurlock holds service at Veterans’ Memorial

dorchester banner/susan m. bautz  About 40 people attended the 1st annual Memorial Day event on May 28 in Hurlock. They came not knowing what to expect but all left with a deep appreciation of the ceremony that honored service members who have fought for freedom in armed conflicts throughout the world.

dorchester banner/susan m. bautz
About 40 people attended the 1st annual Memorial Day event on May 28 in Hurlock. They came not knowing what to expect but all left with a deep appreciation of the ceremony that honored service members who have fought for freedom in armed conflicts throughout the world.

HURLOCK — The first Memorial Day Service at the new Hurlock Veterans’ Memorial Park on May 28 was a brief, solemn event that captured the spirit of reverence on a day to remember those who died serving the country.
Decoration Day was first observed on May 30, 1868 to commemorate those who lost their lives during the US Civil War. After World War II ended in 1919 the remembrance was re-named Memorial Day and expanded to honor all military personnel who died during any war or military action in which the United States had been involved.
Following Mayor Michael Henry’s welcome, the Rev. Charles Cephas offered the invocation and said, “To be able to be free is something that this nation has that no other nation has … Thank God to those who have given their lives and bodies to keep us free.”
The Mayor thanked Town Administrator John Avery and the Hurlock American Legion for organizing the Memorial Day program. “May we never forget the selflessness, service and sacrifice made by the men and women of our Armed Forces.” He thanked state government office holders and candidates for office, and town council members who attended the event, including: Sen. Addie Eckardt, Delegate Johnny Mautz, former Sen. Rich Colburn of the Department of Agriculture, Hurlock council members Russell Murphy, Charles Cummings, Bonnie Franz, Earl Murphy, and Rev. Cephas; Sheriff James Phillips, county council candidate Lenny Pfeffer, and delegate candidate Keith Graffius.
David Register, commander of Hurlock post 243 said, “They still speak to us. If you listen quietly you can still hear them … their legacy is us.” He told two stories of the million who have died in the battles for freedom. One was about 21 year old WWI old pilot Frank Luke who claimed 18 victories over German planes in 18 days. Another was 1st Lt. and nurse Sharon Lane, who died in Vietnam in 1969 when a rocket blasted through her ward. The two were members of a “diverse group wedded to the common principle that America is worth fighting for.”
He added, “Gold star families remember their fallen loved ones every day. They can still hear their voices. We say thank you to them for the freedom you have given us.”
A rifle volley salute from the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Departament followed the placing of the memorial wreath in front of the American flag. When Taps was played American Legionnaire Jack Lewis raised the colors. With hands over their hearts or precise salutes the crowd heard only the squeak of the halyards and the comforting sound of the waterfall. It was a special moment.
The Rev. Ron James, Hurlock American Legion post 243 chaplain, gave the benediction. In a statement to the Banner, Rev. James noted “the local Legion decided they would put up a monument to honor the local veterans who died in the wars. So the town did it and the Legion was the backbone in the project.”
Fifty-year veteran of the Vietnam War, Mike McGee invited veterans to meet at 9:30 on Friday morning at the Hurlock Legion post to participate in a program called “Vets Helping Vets.”
For several years veterans and American Legion members Fay and Frank Fraley worked on a design for the much anticipated memorial. Ms. Fraley was excited. “I feel fantastic after all the work that we did.” She cited the enormous enthusiasm by the Legion members and the excitement of having the 1st memorial service. Her husband Frank added, “I’ve been looking forward to this for five years to have our first service in Hurlock and we did it. Just our own little private Memorial Day.”

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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