HURLOCK — The service and sacrifice of all veterans of the U.S. military was remembered Monday, Nov. 11, at the Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery’s annual Veterans Day program.

The ceremony opened with the Easton Middle School band’s performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” followed by a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, an invocation by the Rev. Denzil Cheek and the lowering of the colors to half-staff by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 648.

Bruce Webster, superintendent of the Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery, read Gov. Larry Hogan’s proclamation of Veterans Day in Maryland.

Ronnie James, chairman of the cemetery committee, introduced the ceremony’s guest speaker, Tom Rippon, senior vice commander of the Department of Maryland VFW.

Rippon said it was almost 100 years ago, Nov. 11, 1921, that Veterans Day was first celebrated in recognition of the end of World War I three years earlier. That first ceremony was held at Arlington National Cemetery, during which the Unknown Soldier was buried.

“Nearly 100 years later, as we gather to reflect on those who have fought to preserve the freedoms every American enjoys, there are thousands of men and women in our military once again taking up arms against the enemies of our way of life,” Rippon said.

“Like the generations of patriots before them, these few shoulder the burdens of many,” he said. “They serve because they know it is necessary for the greater good.”

Rippon said Veterans Day continues to honor the 22 million veterans in U.S. history who placed country above self.

“There should be no doubt that without the sacrifice of our veterans, without their love and dedication of spirit, tyranny and evil will prevail,” Rippon said.

Rippon said he asked his fellow citizens to grant veterans the care and respect they richly and rightfully deserve.

“For every single man and woman who has donned a military uniform, this is their day to stand tall and be recognized by a grateful nation,” Rippon said.

Rippon also encouraged people to educate future generations and elected officials about the accomplishments of U.S. veterans.

“I hope as we leave here today, each of us will be motivated and inspired by the deeds of patriots past and present,” Rippon said. “It will lead us into a bright future, armed with a renewed sense of patriotism and purpose.”

James continued the ceremony by presenting a plaque to Paul Faulkner, on behalf of the Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery Committee, in recognition of Faulkner’s 39 years of service at the cemetery.

The Easton Middle School band played “America the Beautiful” as representatives of local veterans organizations brought out a series of wreaths.

Deputies with the Dorchester and Caroline counties’ sheriff’s offices performed a rifle volley salute.

Finally, two trumpeters played “Taps” as the colors were retired, followed by a benediction by Cheek.

The public was then invited to a reception at the Hurlock American Legion Post 243.

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