POST 223 NEWS
Flag & Wreath-Laying Ceremony, May 25th
Early on a beautiful Saturday morning, Legionnaires, Sons of the American Legion (S.A.L.), Auxiliary members, Legion Riders, Boy Scout Troop 224, and family and friends met at the Freedom Park Veterans’ Memorial in Sykesville to ceremoniously exchange the current American flag and the flags of the Armed Forces. Boy scouts and local youth respectfully lowered the service flags and the national ensign and replaced them with new ones, while S.A.L. member Jerry Broos played “Taps” on his trumpet in a moment of silence. A single wreath was placed in honor of those service members who paid the ultimate price in service of the country they swore to defend.
In attendance was the designer of the Veterans’ Memorial Michael Sleight. The impressive memorial was Mr. Sleight’s Eagle Scout project when he was still in high school. He was home from completing his junior year at the University of West Virginia where is majoring in Criminology. Michael Sleight is currently aspiring to join the U.S. Navy as a surface warfare officer after graduation.
The group then traveled to conduct similar ceremonies at Millard Cooper Park, Piney Run Park, Sykesville Freedom Fire Department, and concluded at Lakeview Memorial Park. At each stop, boy scouts took charge of lowering and folding the retired flag and raising and lowering the new one to half-staff. A reading and a moment of silence were observed in reverence. Legion Riders assisted the scouts at the fire department by lowering the Maryland State flag and the POW/MIA flag.
At Lakeview, young and not as young attendees placed miniature American flags at the grave markers of veterans as is done in tradition every year. Concurrently, First Vice Commander John Ridgley, incoming Auxiliary President Tedi Schafer and Legionnaire Harry Schafer represented Post 223 at the dedication of the Veteran’s Memorial at the Springfield Cemetery at Springfield Presbyterian Church. One moment worth noting was the respect paid by all of the bystanders near the Piney Run Park boathouse and dock who paused their activities to observe and honor the ceremony. It was an inspiring reminder of the patriotism and support for veterans commonly seen throughout the Sykesville/Eldersburg community and Carroll County.
Memorial Day Ceremony, May 27th
Continuing the tradition of honor and remembrance on a Memorial Day, members of the Post 223 family, Boys Scouts, the American Legion Post 223 senior boys’ baseball team, and a hall full of local community gathered on a perfect Monday morning to pay respect for the true meaning behind this revered national holiday. Post 223 Commander Brent Barnes and Post Chaplain Todd Yatsko delivered the program as touching videos overlaid on speeches of President Ronald Reagan and one video displaying the names and faces of those service members lost in the last year played on the screen behind them. One young man from Boy Scout Troop 224 read the poem “In Flanders Fields,” a popularly read piece written during World War I. During the program, a recording of national anthem was supposed to play. However, a small media glitch did not stop everyone in the hall from standing and singing acapella. It was a truly moving moment, enough to declare the mass singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” as a new post Memorial Day ceremony tradition.
Everyone then mustered outside to watch Post 223 Junior Color Bearer “CPT” Mark Milby and his historic cannon crew of volunteer Civil War reenactors from Battery M, 2nd US Artillery fire volleys, with billowing clouds of white smoke, in honor of lost souls during past major conflicts that United States participated. The ceremony concluded indoors with a benediction, and lunch was provided to those in attendance.
The Flag & Wreath ceremony and the Memorial Day ceremony were captured via Facebook Live and posted on the Post 223’s page. The Memorial Day ceremony has been viewed over 150 times, reinforcing social media as an integral tool to spread post events to Legion family members and local community who may not be able to attend in person. Photos from both days can also be seen on Facebook (@AmericanLegion223), as well as Post 223’s website www.americanlegion223.com. Both events are open to the public every Memorial Weekend.
- Fred Hornburg, Post 223 2nd Vice Commander