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Soldiers, sailors march in the sun—Veterans Day 2018


Leonardtown, MD - The 43rd annual Leonardtown Veterans Day Parade was held Sunday, Nov. 11 with a large number of units—marchers, musicians, motorists and horseback riders making the journey St. Mary’s county seat. The Leonardtown event is the largest Veterans Day parade in Maryland. The local veterans came to watch while many of them rode in classic cars, waving to the spectators standing or seated along Fenwick and Washington streets, the town square and Courthouse Drive.

While the temperature was chilly in the low 40s, the glowing sunshine made it an ideal day for a big parade. 

The parade was organized by Connie Pennington. Leonardtown Mayor Daniel Burris, St. Mary’s County School Board Member Mary Washington and Retired Navy Captain Barbara Ives served as parade announcers.

Burris also was master of ceremonies for post parade event in town square. The post parade ceremonies highlighted the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1 and 50th anniversary of the Vietnam TET Offensive. Three Leonardtown Elementary School fifth graders—Braden Connolly, Maya Winkel and Julia Lisa—along with two fifth graders from Captain Walter Francis Duke Elementary—Kaylyn Young and Miranda Gensley—read essays they had written on “What Veterans Day Means to Me.” Each student spoke about military veterans from their own families and expressed gratitude for their sacrifices.

Naval Air Station Patuxent River Commanding Officer Captain Jason Hammond thanked St. Mary’s County for its support of the base, calling   it “this phenomenal community. He asked that the audience applaud the Vietnam veterans gathered in the square. Hammond noted that Vietnam vets were not celebrated like the returning warriors from World War 1 were. “This nation requires service,” said Hammond.

In addition to elected officials—Congressman Steny Hoyer, St. Mary’s Commissioner Randy Guy and State Delegate Matt Morgan—two local historians, Great Mills High School teacher Anibal Delgado and former state lawmaker J. Ernest Bell addressed the audience. Delgado and Bell spoke about St. Mary’s Countians who had served and fought in America’s conflicts.

Under the direction of Brittney Lynn, the Chopticon High School Marching Band performed the popular “Armed Forces Salute.” Following the laying of the wreaths, Chopticon bugler Carlee Kehrer played Taps. Soloist Bethany Yeh sang both “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.”

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

View parade pictures

View parade pictures

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