Richard D. L. Fulton

The multi-decade Veteran of the Maryland Army Reserve National Guard (MDARNG) addressed the attendees at the Monocacy Valley Memorial Post 6918-07, Harney, on May 28, concerning the significance of Memorial Day.

First Sergeant (retired) William Rosier told the individuals attending the Veterans of Foreign War Memorial Day Observance that millions of men and women have “given all” in the line of duty in service of their country since the American Revolution—up to and including the ongoing Global War on Terrorism.

Rosier noted that the first Memorial Day was held in the wake of the American Civil War in the South only a month after the end of that war.  Similar commemorations began to be held in other states as well. 

The special day received its first official name of Decoration Day, as ordered by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) General John A. Logan in 1869, because it had been a day when, traditionally, individuals placed wreaths and flags upon the graves of those who had died in the service of their country.  The GAR was an organization of former Union soldiers and sailors. The day was not officially known as Memorial Day until 1967 and became widely celebrated by that name in 1968.

Rosier also discussed the meaning of coins, often seen having been left on the headstones of Veterans. The first sergeant noted that the pennies seen were left by general visitors who stop by the graves. Nickels are left by Veterans who had trained in the same boot camp as the deceased. Dimes are left by Veterans who had served together with the deceased in some capacity. Quarters are left by those who were present when the deceased was killed.

In closing, Rosier said the number of those who have died in the service of their country is not just a number, “each one of those numbers was a person, a husband or wife, a son or daughter, a brother or sister, an uncle or an aunt, a friend or a neighbor,” adding, “They all had their dreams and hopes for a future never to be realized.”

Rosier, a Veteran of the Global War on Terrorism (having been assigned to Iraq), served in the Navy from 1970 through 1972. After a five-year break in service, he entered the MDARNG, Battery “A,” 2nd 110th Field Artillery, in 1977. He subsequently retired in 2010.

Post Commander Larry Harris presided over the observance services.  Opening and closing prayers were presented by Pastor Peter Naschke. Wreaths were subsequently posted at the Memorial Monument. The Post Honor Guard then fired a 21-gun salute, and bugler Kate Irwin played Taps.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Harney Post Commander Larry Harris (left) and First Sergeant (retired) William Rosier (right) at the recent Memorial Day event at the Monocacy Valley Memorial Post 6918-07.

Photo by Richard D.L. Fulton

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