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


Flag raised for ‘those who gave it all’

(Jan. 15, 2015) Dozens of Ocean Pines residents braved sub-zero temperatures on Saturday to honor a 90-year-old D-Day veteran and watch a flag once flown over Normandy rise up into the crystal-blue sky over the community’s yacht club.
There was music in the air, as the Maryland National Guard Honor Guard blew bright trumpet blasts, and the Delmarva Chorus sang patriotic songs in appreciation of John Sauer’s heroism on June 6, 1944.
Sauer, using a walker and aided by General Manager Bob Thompson (USAF retired) and World War II veteran Nate Pearson, was visibly moved by the fanfare.
He wept openly as he spoke.
“I’d like to thank the people of Ocean Pines,” Sauer said. “Also, I’d like to thank everybody that has seen the graves and flown to Normandy [for] 3,000 honored men that died for their country.”
OPA Director Sharyn O’Hare, who organized the ceremony, lauded Sauer’s bravery.
“John was in the second wave, which means he was [among’ the first guys on the beach on D-Day,” she said.
O’Hare and a small group of Ocean Pines residents brought the flag back from Normandy 10 years ago, originally flying it during the opening of the Worcester County Veteran’s Memorial.
“The Veteran’s Memorial is a very special place and we’re very honored to have this first flag here at the yacht club to be the first flag that was over at the Veteran’s Memorial,” she said
Sen. Jim Mathias (D-38)was the first to greet Sauer following the ceremony, sitting at his side and clutching his hands in gratitude.
“It’s extremely important that our community continues to support our veterans, our freedoms,” Mathias said. “We stand here today, you look at the world and you look at how free we, and that’s because of our veterans, those who have gone before us, those who gave it all, those who are out in the field today. To have this flag … raised at the Veteran’s Memorial is truly inspiring, and I’m very proud to be here with my fellow citizens.”
OPA Parliamentarian Tom Terry said the event was an important reminder of “where our freedoms came from and the folks who gave it to us.”
“Moments like this allow us to step back and remember the folks who’ve done it, not just World War II, but Vietnam, Desert Storm and all of those opportunities when people fought for our freedom,” he said. “This is a great turnout, and I think it’s great that this community recognizes these heroes. I think it speaks well of our community that this turnout was as big as it is today.”
Thompson agreed.
“As a retired vet myself, showing the community’s support here in Ocean Pines, we support our veterans probably more than most other communities do,” he said. “We’re very aware of the role they played to keep us where we are today.”
Joan, Sauer’s wife of nearly 70 years, sat at a table near the back of the yacht club with two of her five children, taking everything in quietly as her husband continued to shake hands with local politicians, fellow veterans, and the scores of grateful citizens in attendance.  
“I think this all means more to him than words can say,” she said.