By Greg Wehner, Staff Writer
(May 26, 2022) After two years tarnished by the covid-19 pandemic, folks living in and visiting Worcester County are ready to get back to normal. For some, the upcoming Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer season along the 10-miles of beaches in Ocean City, but for others, the weekend is for honoring those who died while serving the United States.
Those honored include soldiers, firefighters, and police officers, and more recently, nurses.
Several Memorial Day activities are scheduled to take place around the county, ranging from ceremonies to parades.
Here are a few events planned this weekend.
- The Worcester County Veterans Memorial Foundation will host its annual Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. on Monday.
“Memorial Day honors all who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our county,” Veterans Memorial Foundation President Marie Gilmore said. “This year’s ceremony, as those before it, will honor the brave men and women who served our country and lost their lives in doing so.”
The ceremony, which is open to the public, will take place at the Worcester County Veterans Memorial in Ocean Pines on Route 589 near the South Gate.
This year’s keynote speaker will be retired U.S. Navy Commander Joseph Parker, who is also the current director of the Worcester County Veterans Memorial Foundation.
The ceremony will also honor Gold Star families, a designation that originates to World War I, when families would fly flags or banners with a blue star for every family member serving in combat.
If one of the family members died, the blue star would be replaced with a gold star.
Ex-POW Walter Webster will place a wreath on the memorial in honor of all current and former prisoners of war, and music from Randy Lee Ashcraft and Frank Nanna and the WWIIunes will perform the “Armed Forces Medley,” honoring all five branches of the military.
The program is expected to run for one hour.
Just before the ceremony, the Worcester County Veterans Memorial Foundation will hold a special dedication for the “Panel West 30” of “The Wall that Heals.”
In 2021, a traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial exhibit stopped in Ocean Pines and gifted a panel from the exhibit to the Worcester County Veterans Memorial by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in Washington, D.C.
“It is an honor to have been given this extraordinary, special gift, and it will soon be permanently installed at our memorial for all to see,” Gilmore said.
Parking will be available at the memorial and seating will be limited during the ceremony.
Organizers encourage guests to bring chairs.
- America’s “Coolest Small Town,” will host the return of the Memorial Day Parade on Flower Street on Monday, kicking off at 11 a.m.
The procession will begin at the corner of Seahawk Road and Flower Street and conclude at Dr. William Edward Henry Park.
The theme for this year’s parade is “Hometown Heroes,” and was chosen to honor U.S. military members who died serving the country. It was also chosen to celebrate essential workers in the community who worked the frontlines during the covid-19 pandemic.
Organizers encourage community members to visit Dr. William Edward Henry Park and Multipurpose Building property to grab a bite to eat, shop local vendor tables, and participate in additional activities.
Free parking will be available at the Berlin Intermediate School with shuttles going between the parking lot and parade from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information about the event, contact Berlin Community Improvement Association President DJ Lockwood at 443-497-3242 or email@example.com.
- The Dunes Manor Hotel on 28th Street and Baltimore Avenue will host the American Legion Synepuxent Post 166 and joint Color Guard processions oceanside, starting at 8 a.m. on Monday.
During the event, members of the U.S. Coast Guard on a cutter off the coast of the resort, will place a wreath in the ocean to honor those lost at sea during times of war.
On the beach, American Legion Synepuxent Post 166 member
Ed Pinto said, a color guard will render colors and Chaplain Ben Dawson and First Vice Commander Pat Sharkey will speak, taps will be played, and a firing squad will salute the fallen.
After the ceremony, the Dunes Manor hotel will offer breakfast to attendees.
For more information, call the Dunes Manor Hotel at 1-800-523-2888.
- The American Legion Post 166 will host an Armed Forces Day commemoration at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Armed Forces Day pays tribute to men and women who serve across all six branches in the U.S. military.
- American Legion Post #166 will host a Memorial Day service at 5 p.m. on Monday at its facility on 24th Street.
Representatives from Unit #166 American Legion Auxiliary, Chapter #166 American Legion Riders, American Legion Post #166 Color Guard, and more will participate in the event, as will members of Scout troops 261 and 621 and Cub Scout Pack 261.
Refreshments will be served after the ceremony, which is free and open to the public.
- Ocean City will mark the official start of the beach season with a ceremony on the beat on Friday at 11 a.m.
This year’s event will feature two sky jumpers delivering the American and Ocean City flags to the beach, as well as more than 40 beach umbrellas arranged so when viewed from above, they spell out “Enjoy,” the resort’s new tagline.
Each year as a tradition, Mayor Rick Meehan hosts the ceremony and season with the official opening of a beach umbrella. Joining him this year will be City Council members, representatives from the Ocean City police and fire departments, and members of the beach patrol.
For more information visit www.ococean.com.
- Downtown Pocomoke will celebrate Memorial Day at the Fourth Friday Street Festival on Friday evening.
The block party-style event will be held within the two blocks of Market Street between Front Street and Second Street.
Local craftsmen, vendors, and artists will fill the sidewalks of Market Street to sell their work, which includes thinks like paintings, jewelry, photographs, home decor, fashion apparel, and produce.
Food and drinks will be available for purchase, including beer and wine.
Beautiful Disaster will provide live music, and once the sun goes down, a Memorial Day fireworks display will illuminate the sky.
In the event of rain, Fourth Friday will be canceled and will resume on June 24, 2022.
For more information about the event, visit the “Downtown Pocomoke Association” Facebook page,www.downtownpocomoke.com, or call Pocomoke City Hall at 410-957-1333, extension 111.