The Tri-State community will have several opportunities to recognize fallen veterans during this Memorial Day weekend.
Events include parades and wreath-laying ceremonies with several speakers.
The events include:
The town of Sharpsburg will hold a Memorial Day ceremony at Town Square at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 28, followed by its Memorial Day parade down Main Street at 2 p.m.
Weather permitting, the Hagerstown Aviation Museum will conduct a flyover with its World War II PT-19 trainers as the parade begins, according to parade committee representative Randy Short. The planes were built in the Hagerstown area and used to train pilots for the war.
This year's theme is "The Greatest Generation." World War II veterans, Wilbur Jackson "Jack" Myers of the Hagerstown area and Sgt. Guy Whidden of Braddock Heights, Md., are parade grand marshals and will speak during the 11 a.m. ceremony.
Whidden, on June 6, 1944, jumped with the 8th Air Force into Normandy, according to the parade program. In September 1944, the 101st Airborne Division went to Holland for Operation Market Garden. In Holland, Whidden was injured during heavy mortar fire. He later became a jump school instructor, training paratroopers until the end of the war.
Myers served in the 692nd Tank Destroyer Battalion. An antitank gunner, Myers operated a 3-inch gun towed by a half-track and worked in an M36 tank destroyer while serving in Europe during the war, he's previously told The Herald-Mail.
The parade is expected to have over 100 units, including the Boonsboro High marching band; the MacMillan Pipe Band from Rockville, Md.; the Rohrersville Band; the Maryland National Guard's 229th Army Band; the Ali Ghan Shriners in their little cars; local fire companies, World War II vehicles and Civil War re-enactors, according to town officials.
Field of Flags
The Sunrise Rotary Club of Hagerstown is hosting a Flags for Heroes ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday at Long Meadows Rotary Park on Northern Avenue to honor past and present heroes. Speakers include Hagerstown Police Chief Paul Kifer, Hagerstown Mayor Emily Keller, Rotary Area Governor (Washington County) January Weber, District Governor Nominee Herb Smith and Ron Bowers, an Army veteran and past president of Long Meadow Rotary Club.
Morris Frock American Legion Post 42 will host a Memorial Day ceremony in front of the Washington County Courthouse in downtown Hagerstown at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 29. Hagerstown Mayor Emily Keller will offer welcoming remarks.
The keynote speaker is chaplain Col. Cregg M. Puckett, a student of the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. Prior to Carlisle, Puckett was assigned to the U.S. Special Operations Command, Preservation of the Force and Family, MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., according to his bio. His previous assignments include command chaplain for NATO Special Operations Combined Command-Afghanistan/Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan and deputy command chaplain for Reserve & Religious Affairs for the U.S. Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. He has a master's of divinity degree from Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, Miss. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with oak-leaf cluster.
After the downtown ceremony, the mayor and members of the City Council will lay wreaths at the memorial monument along Memorial Boulevard near Rose Hill Cemetery's main entrance, at the Vietnam War Veterans Monument on South Walnut Street near City Park, at the Medal of Honor Triangle on Jonathan Street, and at the Korean War Veterans Memorial along Potomac Avenue at the Mealey Parkway traffic island, according to a city news release.
The auxiliary for the Boonsboro American Legion, Clopper-Michael Post 10, is sponsoring the annual Memorial Day parade down Main Street starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 29, according to the town's Facebook page.
A wreath-laying ceremony and memorial service will be held first, at 1 p.m., in front of Town Hall.
Marty Snook Park
The Joint Veterans Council of Washington County will hold a Memorial Day ceremony at the war memorial in Martin "Marty" L. Snook Memorial Park in Halfway at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 30. The keynote speaker is retired U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Ron Bowers, who also is a former Washington County commissioner and who is running again for the position this year.
Rest Haven program
Rest Haven Funeral Home and Cemetery will commemorate Memorial Day at 11 a.m. Monday with live music, prayer, a reading and the flying of dozens of American flags that once draped local veterans' caskets, owner Eric Brown said. A bagpiper will perform "Amazing Grace," volunteer buglers will play "Echo Taps," and the Appalachian Wind Quintet will perform a selection of patriotic songs. The cemetery is at 1601 Pennsylvania Ave. in Hagerstown.
Antietam National Cemetery
Antietam National Battlefield will resume its Memorial Day program at 11 a.m. Monday at the park's National Cemetery following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Carrie Janney, the John L. Nau III professor of history of the American Civil War and director of the Nau Center for Civil War History at the University of Virginia, will be the keynote speaker, according to a park news release. Janney received the 2022 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize for her book, "Ends of War: The Unfinished Fight of Lee's Army after Appomattox." Janney worked as a historian for the National Park Service and is past president of the Society of Civil War Historians, according to The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History's website.
The program includes the Hagerstown Choral Arts; a cannon salute by the park's volunteer Battery B, 4th U.S. Artillery; and Master Sgt. Geoff Blankenship and retired Chief Master Sgt. Ron Glazer from the 167th Airlift Wing based in Martinsburg, W.Va., performing taps.
The cemetery is along Shepherdstown Pike (Md. 34) just east of Sharpsburg Pike (Md. 65).
Sharpsburg Elementary's fifth-graders were scheduled to place 5,000 flags, one for every headstone at the cemetery, on Thursday in preparation for the holiday, according to the park release.
The Funkstown American Legion Dixon-Troxell Post 211, the post's auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion are co-hosting wreath-laying ceremonies at two war memorials in town starting at 11 a.m. Monday.
After laying wreaths at the stone memorial by the Legion post, at 12 N. Westside Ave., participants will head a few blocks down Baltimore Street to the doughboy statue at Frederick Road for a second wreath-laying ceremony.
The Smithsburg Park Commission is hosting a ceremony at 2 p.m. Monday by the war memorial in Veterans Park. The keynote speaker is retired Army Col. Derek Harvey, who is also running for Washington County commissioner.
Mercersburg parade and ceremony
The Harry Lackhove American Legion Post 517 is hosting a Memorial Day parade at 8:30 a.m. Monday in Mercersburg, followed by a ceremony.
The parade starts on Park Street by Mercersburg Elementary School and proceeds down Main Street to Fairview Cemetery, where the ceremony will be held. The parade will include the James Buchanan High School marching band, the Boy Scouts, local veterans and the fire department. Veterans who want to march in the parade, or ride in a van in the parade, are to meet in the elementary school parking lot by 8:15 a.m.
The keynote speaker at the cemetery is Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, who is a retired Army colonel and who recently won the Republican nomination for governor in the state's primary.
After the ceremony, wreaths will be laid at the veterans memorial at Keefer Drive and Pa. 75.
If it rains, the ceremony will be held at the Legion post at 9 a.m.
Greencastle parade and ceremony
The Harry D. Zeigler Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6319 is hosting a Memorial Day parade starting at 10:30 a.m. Monday by the Lillian S. Besore Memorial Library and heading west on Baltimore Street to the Cedar Lawn Cemetery, according to a flier at the club's Facebook page. A ceremony will be held at the cemetery following the parade.
The parade will feature the Greencastle Middle School band, Scout troops, local businesses and local veterans, and police and first responders, according to an email from organizer Steve Cummings.
Rear Adm. Grafton Chase Jr., director of Joint Reserve Forces, J9, Defense Logistics Agency, will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony.
Waynesboro parade and ceremony
Waynesboro's Combined Veterans Council is hosting a Memorial Day parade at 9 a.m. Monday, followed by a ceremony that usually begins around 11 a.m., said Janeen McChesney with the council.
The parade starts by the Turkey Hill car wash and goes down Main Street before turning right on Broad Street and ending at Memorial Park, where the service will be held.
The parade grand marshal is Janet Smedley, who is known locally as "Ms. Red, White and Blue" for her patriotic spirit, McChesney said. Smedley, 90, attends every Memorial Day and Veterans Day program in the community. She taught music for many years in the Waynesboro Area School District. She also played organ for more than 63 years for the Church of the Brethren in town. Several of her family members have served in the Armed Forces.
The keynote speaker at the service is Lt. Col. Brendan T. McShea, a student from the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. McShea has served in leadership positions from platoon leader to battalion commander for both the Patriot and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile units, according to his bio. Recently, he was assigned as battalion commander for the 1st Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment at Fort Bragg, N.C. His next assignment will be to the joint staff at the Pentagon. McShea's combat tours include deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He served aboard the USS Enterprise and USS Ronald Reagan, had operational deployments to Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, and served in the Republic of Korea. His military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star.
If the ceremony needs to move indoors due to inclement weather, it will be held at 11 a.m. at the American Legion at 63 E. Main St.
Chambersburg parade and ceremony
The 21-Day Retreat Organization is sponsoring a Memorial Day parade and ceremony in Chambersburg on Monday. The events are being organized by American Legion Post 46, Post Commander Paul Cullinane said.
The parade begins at 9:15 a.m. at Fifth Avenue and Lincoln Way East, heading west on Lincoln Way to Memorial Square, where the ceremony will be held.
The ceremony at the square includes the Chambersburg Area High School band, a prayer, the two honorary parade marshals laying a wreath, a 21-gun salute, and a keynote address by Col. Rick Allbritton, commander of Letterkenny Army Depot.
The two honorary parade marshals are Esther Wagner, 98, and Sam Worley, 100. Worley is a World War II veteran, community volunteer and bank leader. Wagner has been involved with the auxiliary for 46 years and is a community volunteer who has helped veterans and their families for decades.
After the ceremony, participants continue west to the Lincoln Way bridge for a brief ceremony to honor veterans who lost their lives at sea.
In the event of inclement weather canceling any event, the ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. at the Legion post at 755 Philadelphia Ave.
The Martinsburg Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 896 is hosting a free luncheon for the community at its 241 N. Queen St. post around noon on Monday. There will be a Memorial Day service during the luncheon.
Earlier in the day, the Rotary Club of Martinsburg is hosting a free community pancake breakfast at the main pavilion in War Memorial Park. The breakfast is from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Proceeds benefit the Rotary International's mission to eradicate polio throughout the world, according to the club's website.
This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: Memorial Day ceremonies, parades in Washington County, PA and WV