Kevin Earl Dayhoff Art One-half Banana Stems

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

#Memorial Day 2012 by Maryland State Senator Joe Getty

Westminster's 145th Consecutive Celebration
Marylanders for Joe Getty
May 26, 2012

This Monday, May 28, I will attend the Catherine A. Mulliken Memorial Run/Walk sponsored by Catherine's Cause and the Lineboro-Manchester Lions Club. This is the 8th annual event in memory of Cathy who at age 20 was tragically killed by a drunk driver. The run/walk begins at 10 a.m. at the Manchester Pool on Victory Street.

Later in the morning, I will catch up to the Memorial Day celebration in Westminster. The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Main Street. I will likely miss most of the parade but hope to attend the ceremony in the Westminster cemetery and visit the grave of my Civil War ancestor, Capt. Thomas Ocker.

Other events are scheduled throughout the weekend in Westminster and are listed below. Also printed below is my Northern News column from May 24, 2012:
The 145th celebration of Memorial Day will be held this weekend in Westminster. Veterans' organizations will be hosting a series of events in commemoration of this long-standing continuous tradition since 1868.

Known originally as "Decoration Day," the first Westminster observance was organized in 1868 by Mary Bostwick Shellman who led a children's parade to decorate the graves of Civil War veterans in the Westminster Cemetery. This year's festivities have been coordinated by American Legion Post 31 with Korean War veteran Arnold "Skip" Amass as chairman of the organizing committee of over 150 volunteers.

My great-great-uncle, Thomas Ocker, was one of the Union casualties from Westminster whose grave was decorated at that first "Decoration Day." In fact, my great-grandfather H. Scott Roop may have participated in that first children's parade as a six-year-old. He was the nephew of Capt. Ocker by virtue of being the son of Ocker's sister, Henrietta Ocker Roop.

Ocker served with many local men who volunteered for service in the Union Army with the 6th Regiment, Maryland Volunteer Infantry. He mustered in on August 18, 1862 as a private and received a series of promotions until 1865 when he was mortally wounded on April 2 during the Petersburg Campaign. Ocker survived the surrender of General Robert E. Lee on April 9 at Appomattox but died twenty-five days later on May 4, 1865.

His body was returned home for burial in the Westminster Cemetery. A worn and eroded inscription remains on the white obelisk monument that stands only a hundred feet from where this year's memorial service will be held after the parade on Monday.

Ocker's nephew and my great-grandfather, H. Scott Roop, grew up in Westminster and ran several local businesses. He married Kate McCollum who was a citizen activist engaged in many progressive movements of the early 20thcentury including the women's right to vote. Their son, Harold S. Roop, served with other Westminster servicemen during World War I as part of the U.S. Army's 29th Division, Company C, 112 Machine Gun Battalion.

In the archives of the Historical Society of Carroll County is a poem written by Kate McCollum Roop as a patriotic call to support those called to duty and serving overseas during World War I.

As we honor our veterans and especially our fallen heroes on Memorial Day 2012, I offer my great-grandmother's World War I poem as words of remembrance for those who have served and those who continue to serve our country:

Maryland, My Maryland

We'll all be soldiers everywhere,
In Maryland, My Maryland,
Sure everyone will do his share,
In Maryland, My Maryland.
The Khaki or the Blue we'll wear
To Toll for hours, we must in air,
To save our land, our soil prepare,
In Maryland, My Maryland.

With plow and rake, with pick and hoe,
In Maryland, My Maryland.
Out to the yards and fields we'll go,
In Maryland, My Maryland,
Yes, dig and plant the test we know,
And all the seeds, we have we'll sow,
For Uncle Sam they'll surely grow,
In Maryland, My Maryland.

Our work at home will have no end,
In Maryland, My Maryland,
Till all our strength and time we spend,
In Maryland, My Maryland.
On fields and Trench we must depend,
Our Boys in War our cause defend
While we in turn our food must send,
In Maryland, My Maryland.
Our Victory won through days of stress,
In Maryland, My Maryland.
Her freedom then we will possess,
In Maryland, My Maryland.
Then to her Sons we'll shout success
And Welcome home with tenderness,
Assured that God will greatly bless,
Our Maryland, Dear Maryland.


[20120526 Memorial Day 2012 by Joe Getty]

See also: #Westminster 2012 #Memorial Day Celebration Calendar of Events - 145th Anniversary

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