Every Memorial Day weekend for many, many years, Former Mayor Bob DiPietro and Rev. Warren Litchfield lead a brief ceremony at Ivy Hill Cemetery. This year’s memorial service will be held on Sunday, 25 May 2008 at 11 am.
Every year a large group of citizens, fire fighters, police officers, and former and current military service members gather at the cemetery for about an hour to remember why we must have a day for memorials.
If you come every year, you already understand why and we’ll see you Sunday. If you have never attended this unique Laurel tradition, you owe it to yourself to come and see one of the very best things about living in a small town.
It’s always a brief and moving service. A few short speeches, an honor guard, the American flag is raised and a brief prayer of remembrance is said for all of those who have served, who continue to serve and who have died serving our community and our country.
The city’s sounds seem to quiet for a few minutes. The breeze rustles the late spring leaves. Friends, neighbors, young and old comrades in arms stand straighter as the bugler blows Taps. We come each year to remember that along these rows of headstones and monuments, we remain tightly bound to them and to each other.
President Abraham Lincoln once remembered a large and bloody struggle for freedom. His remarks were brief as well and they remembered events in another small town about 70 miles North of Ivy Hill Cemetery not unlike Laurel. I can’t help thinking as I read the ending of his famous address below how appropriate his words are for us in our own small community 146 years later.
“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not
hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have
consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will
little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget
what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to
the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before
us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for
which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly
resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under
God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by
the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Sunday 25 May, 11 am, Ivy Hill Cemetery on Sandy Spring Road