The Town of Walkersville celebrated Veterans’ Day a few days early on Sunday, November 9th during a Veterans’ Day Service at Memorial Park. Commissioner Donald Schildt, Sr. organizes the annual event and served as master of ceremonies. He welcomed the larger than usual crowd and made introductions. Pastor Richard Baker of Walkersville United Methodist Church gave an invocation before three local Boy Scouts presented the colors as the services’ color guard, the assembled recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang The Star Spangled Banner while the Yellow Springs Band provided music.
Walkersville residents who served in the military and frequently volunteer their time and energy to the community replaced the old flag flying over Memorial Park with a new flag. Richard Brady, U.S. Navy, Larry Haines, U.S. Navy, and Dan Thomas, U.S. Marines Corps, solemnly and respectfully lowered and folded the old flag before hoisting the new flag while veterans and uniformed military officers saluted.
U.S. Army Veterans and Walkersville residents Robert Bosworth and William Richardson presented and laid a wreath at Memorial Park.
Town Commissioner Russ Winch introduced George B. Delaplaine, Jr. as the first guest speaker. Mr. Delaplaine, well known businessman for his long leadership of The Frederick News Post and Frederick Brick Works, spoke of his time as a teenager playing clarinet for the Maryland State Guard’s band with senior non-commissioned officers during the early part of World War II and his time in Chicago after joining the military. He discussed the support of troops during his time in the military and today.
The crowd then joined the Yellow Springs Band in a verse of God Bless America.
Town Commissioner Chad Weddle introduced former town commissioner Joseph Caha, a Veteran of the Vietnam War and helicopter pilot. Mr. Caha gave a very informative talk of his time in Vietnam and the role he and his compatriots played as helicopter pilots and the larger number of soldiers supporting their operations. He described the dangers, the trials, and the losses he and his fellow veterans faced in their various missions in Vietnam and Cambodia. He concluded by asking folks to support the various organizations that support both veterans and their families through their lives following service to our nation.
Commissioner Gary Baker introduced Mike and Carol Cartwright, parents of Sgt. Charles Cartwright who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation five years ago. This past summer, the stretch of MD 194 through Walkersville was dedicated in memory of Sgt. Charles Cartwright. Today, the Town of Walkersville honored his memory with a plaque in Memorial Park. Mrs. Cartwright thanked the community for their continued support and remembered one of her son’s friends commenting on the love and support of the Glade Valley Community after memorial services for her son.
Walkersville Burgess Ralph Whitmore introduced and honored long-time resident, 18-year president of the Walkersville Volunteer Fire Company, and community volunteer Horace Wright, a veteran of the Merchant Marines during World War II. Chief Petty Officer Jason Mills of the United States Navy spoke of the invaluable and very dangerous service sailors such as Mr. Wright provided during World War II. Mr. Wright sailed on flat bottomed boats filled with thousands of tons of supplies across the Atlantic Ocean at a maximum speed of 11 knots. Their ships were never marked with names or numbers due to the secrecy of their cargo and destinations. At all times, they faced the specter of enemy boats and submarines trying to disrupt the flow of supplies to Europe, Africa, and Asia. Chief Petty Officer Jason Mills and his daughter presented Mr. Wright with a plaque.
United States Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Representative for the 8th Congressional District, sent a representative to present Mr. Delaplaine and Mr. Caha with flags flown over the U.S. Capitol in their honor. Delegate Kelly Schultz of the Maryland House of Delegates sent recently elected Judge of the Orphans Court Jimmy Trout to present a letter recognizing both gentlemen for their serivce.
The Town of Walkersville presented a gift to each Veteran present. The Yellow Springs Band played the theme of each military branch as veterans from those branches came forward to be honored. Two Glade Valley residents, Cliff Quicksell and Daniel Yeeles then read poems honoring veterans.
Burgess Ralph Whitmore thanked those Walkersville Veterans who have tended the grounds of Memorial Park. He presented the retired U.S. Flag from Memorial Park to Dan Thomas who has coordinated the upkeep of the park and regularly mows the lawn at the park.
John Grimes sang Arlington while playing the guitar. Pastor Baker closed the service with a very personal benedition reflecting on the experiences of a family member who served three tours in Vietnam, received three Purple Heart Awards for his sacrifices, and came home disabled to spits and jeers from his nation. He celebrated the honor and respect we now give our veterans and asked for their continued support.
The Honor Guard from Woodsboro American Legion Post 282 provided a 21-gun salute. Millard Haines played Taps as the Boy Scouts retired the colors.