Close Menu
Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Events honor veterans, memorial

(May 21, 2015) The Worcester County Veterans Memorial in Ocean Pines will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Memorial Day and the community has big plans to mark the milestone.
Located on the South Gate at Ocean Pines, the large circular memorial with sections representing each branch of the United States Armed Forces, is open seven days a week, and is lighted at night for evening viewing.
According to Sharyn O’Hare, a founding member of the nonprofit foundation that established the memorial, the site was little more than “a hole in the ground” 10 years ago.
Today, it is a major educational component in the county, with fifth graders in every school in the district making annual field trips. Scores of area veterans also visit the grounds on a regular basis.  
“We raised the first flag never knowing we would be doing the educational program or knowing we would have 3,000 people attend these events each Memorial Day and 600-800 on Veteran’s Day,” O’Hare said.
“This has been so well received in the community. We didn’t know the effect it was going that this memorial was going to have on so many different people. You can’t go by that memorial ever without seeing somebody there just taking time to pause, to reflect, to remember their loved ones.”
O’Hare, a member of the Ocean Pines Association board of directors, became interested in veteran’s affairs because of her father’s service in the U.S. Marines during World War II.
“He turned 18 at Midway,” O’Hare said. “He enlisted right after Pearl Harbor, underage with permission. He was just a total kid.”
Her father, O’Hare said, was often reluctant to talk about his experience during the war, “as most people who were in deep combat were.”
When she chaired the 35th anniversary celebration of the Ocean Pines community, O’Hare included a special “salute to the troops” day, and her parents flew in from Chicago for the occasion.
“When it came time for him to stand at the branch of service when the Marines were called, he stood up. He was 81 years old – he died a few months later – and he saluted and tears were running down his cheeks. And I will never forget that. I realized then we needed to do something for these men and women who have served our country.”
Like O’Hare, Marie Gilmore, president of the Worcester County Veterans Memorial Foundation, became involved in the memorial through her volunteer work during the community’s35th anniversary celebration.
“We had money left over in the committee fund and we were going to put a flagpole up, but instead the community support was so tremendous it turned into a memorial to honor all veterans,” she said. “I was on the first full board of directors, and I’ve been involved almost continuously since.”
Gilmore’s husband and brother both served in the U.S. military, and both have commemorative bricks laid at the memorial in Ocean Pines.
“Veterans mean a lot to me,” she said. “Honoring and never forgetting – that’s most important thing, that we never forget our veterans. Shame on us if we do.”
On Saturday, May 23, from 5-7 p.m., the foundation will hold a 10th anniversary cocktail party under a tent at the memorial site. Frank Nanna and the WWIIunes will provide live music, with a special appearance by vocalist Todd Crosby.
Heavy appetizers and a cash bar are included in the event.
“We decided we wanted to do something special to celebrate how far we’ve come in 10 years, and it’s going to be the party of the season,” O’Hare said. “This is a place for all of us. It’s a living place, and so many people in our community have ties to the military. It’s a special place.”
Tickets are $25 in advance, available through O’Hare by calling 410-603-4777 or emailing, or $35 at the door. Funds raised go towards educational programing at the memorial.
On Monday, May 25, at 11 a.m., the foundation will hold its annual Memorial Day service at the site.
“It’s meant to be a solemn ceremony, because it honors those who died in service,” Gilmore said.
The Delmarva Chorus, Randy Lee Ashcraft, Frank Nanna and the WWIIunes will perform during the ceremony, with Todd Crosby making another appearance.
Gilmore hopes the 3,000-plus people expected to attend the service take away a sense of ownership of the memorial.  
“This is their memorial, because it was a community-built memorial,” she said. “I want them to take away from it whatever it is that they need, whether it be a place to sit and contemplate, a place of comfort and solace – whatever it is that somebody needs.”
For more information, visit