CECIL COUNTY — This Memorial Day, groups across Cecil County are making sure that the sacrifices made by the men and women who laid down their lives for this country will not be forgotten.
Community members will honor fallen military members with the annual Elkton Memorial Day Parade on Monday, March 27, starting at 10 a.m.
Jessica Price, interim executive director of the Elkton Chamber & Alliance, said the parade strives to give those military members the recognition they deserve and to remind people that the holiday holds far more meaning than just backyard barbecues.
“People think of the holiday as more of a get-together or a time to hang out with family and have cookouts. A lot of times people forget the real reason for it,” she said. “It’s really nice to be able to try to support them and another day to be patriotic as well.”
The annual parade is in its eighth year after it was restarted in 2012 for the town’s 225th anniversary, according to Price.
This year’s parade will feature military groups, school bands, churches, vintage vehicles, floats and other participants.
In addition to the parade, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War posts in Cecil County will also be commemorating Memorial Day with their own services and events that day.
American Legion Susquehanna Post No. 135, located at 300 Cherry St. in Perryville, will host a memorial day ceremony at 11 a.m. May 27 at the post.
Light refreshments will follow the event.
Commander Dodson Lyons said he and his father served in the military and both survived. He shared that he is grateful to be alive so he can honor those military members who died protecting this nation.
“I just think of the poor people that didn’t make it back and their families. They suffered a lot, I’m sure,” he said.
A few miles up the Susquehanna River coastline, the Jerry Skrivanek VFW Post No. 8185 in Port Deposit will mark Memorial Day with two ceremonies: the first at 10 a.m. at Harmony Chapel, where post leaders honor their namesake at his graveside each year; and the second at 11 a.m. at Memorial Park in town, where a marker thanks all servicemen and women.
The ceremonies will feature a prayer service and demonstrations by the Boy Scouts and honor guard.
Kendall Snyder, the office manager for the post, said Memorial Day allows people to pay tribute to the men and women who gave their lives for the country.
“It’s just one little way that we can show our appreciation to the sacrifices that they have made,” she said.
Down at the southern end of the county, the Chesapeake City VFW Post 7687, located at 304 Basil Ave., will be holding a Memorial Day service at 11 a.m. May 27. A luncheon will follow the service, and people are encouraged to bring a covered dish to share.
Betty Lupfer, a member of the the post, said it is important to pay tribute to the fallen members of the military each year on Memorial Day “to show our support for their duty.”
On Wednesday, May 29, Conowingo Elementary School will also commemorate the contributions of members of the military with an assembly from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
The Memorial Day Celebration will feature patriotic music, poetry, speeches and marching as the school’s students and staff demonstrate their gratitude for those who have sacrificed their own safety in order to ensure that of their country back home.
Rounding out the week, the Rising Sun American Legion will hold its own ceremony on May 30, a date which Vice Commander Neil Eller said his American Legion post recognizes as “the true Memorial Day.”
Following the American Civil War, northern states observed Memorial Day on May 30 starting in 1868. That tradition continued for just over 100 years.
In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, moving Memorial Day and three other holidays from their traditional dates to a specific Monday of their respective months to create a three-day weekend. The law took effect in 1971, marking the first Memorial Day nationally recognized on the last Monday of the month.
However, Eller said his post still upholds the now 151-year-old tradition of commemorating Memorial Day on May 30.
“We continue to hold our ceremony on the true Memorial Day where it was first established,” he said. “For over 100 years it was May 30, and to us it’s still May 30.”
Members of the post will visit the West Nottingham, Brookview and Calvert cemeteries. At each of the three cemeteries, they will place a wreath and hold a short ceremony.
Then, the post will travel to Rising Sun’s center square for another short ceremony in which they will place a wreath on the monument.
Starting at 11 a.m., they will convene at the post itself for a larger program. The Rising Sun Middle School Band will provide music for the event.