Kevin Earl Dayhoff Art One-half Banana Stems

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Saturday, December 05, 2015

The short version of my remarks this morning at the Opening ceremonies for the 62nd St. John Catholic Church Christmas Bazaar

This is the short version of my remarks this morning at the Opening ceremonies for the 62nd St. John Catholic Church Christmas Bazaar December 5, 2015 at 8:00 am

By Baltimore Sun writer Kevin E. Dayhoff, the former mayor of Westminster from 2001-2005

This year the bazaar is open from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
43 Monroe Street, Westminster, MD 21157

Good morning. On behalf of Westminster’s past and present elected officials, I would like to welcome you to the 62nd consecutive St. John Christmas Bazaar.

For the past 12-years I have been a journalist at the Baltimore Sun writing mostly history. At my age I am greatly amused that many events that took place in my childhood are now studied as history by today’s school children.

I look forward to the Christmas bazaar every year. When I was very young, the bazaar was part of a family adventure during the Christmas season.

During my high school years from 1969 through 1971, I often attended Mass at St. John with a good friend. I recall when the last Mass was held on February 4, 1968 at the church building on Main Street in town.

Last year when my wife Caroline and I were enjoying lunch at the bazaar with Mary Mussari, I was pleased when John Bryan asked me to speak at this year’s opening. Mr. Bryan told me that recently the ceremony has been dedicated to our servicemen and women – - and that this year we are paying a special recognition to Vietnam Vets.

It was just a few short weeks ago that our community came together to observe Veterans Day. No community does it better than Carroll County.

I served stateside in the United States Marine Corps Reserve from 1971 to 1973. Although I was not deployed, it has remained a sobering event in my life to have stepped-up the plate, despite a high draft number, signed on the dotted line, and
volunteered to serve during the Vietnam War.

This year, schools set the example for all of Carroll County by commemorating Veterans Day with many thoughtful, and well-planned services and programs.

In recent years Veterans Day has turned more somber. In the past, much of the community came together to celebrate the end of World War One and World War Two, and the Korean War.

Much of the nation saw nothing to celebrate for decades after the end of the Vietnam War. The war had dragged-on for over 19 years - for what seemed an eternity.

After the United States ended its direct involvement in the war on August 15, 1973, veterans were treated with scorn by the American left that proudly heaped insult upon injury upon those who served during the war.

Thankfully, the current youngest generation has seen fit to honor its veterans that have served proudly in the first and second Gulf Wars – and they treat Vietnam veterans with great dignity and respect.

Over 2.7 million Americans served in the Vietnam War. The average age was 19. Of that number, 300,000 were wounded in action, and 75,000 were disabled.

It has been estimated that almost 5 million military personnel and civilians, from all sides, lost their life in the Vietnam War. Of the 58,200 names listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC, 1,046 are Marylanders who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Although many Vietnam era vets still harbor a deep-seated resentment as to how we were treated, the manner in which we are treated by the youngest generation brings tears to our eyes and has gone a long way to heal the wounds of decades of being abused and ignored.

Today, we pay a special tribute to the eighteen fallen heroes from Carroll County, whose faces are etched in the black granite monument in the Vietnam Memorial Park on Willis Street that was dedicated on May 28, 1990.

We hold dear in our hearts the eighteen names: Ronald Kenny; Christopher Miller, Jr.; Carl Egolf; James Byers; Russell Amoss; Russell Milberry; Everett Justice, Jr.; Michael Kidd; John Feezer; Sherman Flanagan, Jr.; Muriel Groomes; Joseph Oreto; Frederick Magsamen; Franklin Underwood, Jr.; James Zumbrun; Joseph Blickenstaff, Jr.; David Steger; and Herbert Mulkey, Jr.

The faces of the eighteen names on the monument are frozen in time. Some we knew. Some we didn’t. But they were all someone’s son or father or brother or uncle – or a cherished childhood friend. Their faces have been silent for many years, but they all have a story to tell.

Today it is only right to recall the profound words from Ephesians, “Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, and be armed with the power of the Spirit, so that we may continue to make the Gospel understandable to those of us, who after many years, still have unanswered questions…”

God Bless and Semper Fi to all our brothers and sisters in uniform that served and died to protect our freedoms - and cannot attend the bazaar. Thank you for having me speak with you today. It was an honor. 

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This is the short version of my remarks for the opening ceremonies for the 62nd St. John Catholic Church Christmas Bazaar December 5, 2015 at 8:00 am

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