BALTIMORE As U.S. soldiers fight in Afghanistan, Marylanders are preparing to remember veterans of other wars tomorrow exactly two months after terrorists attacked the United States.
About 500 veterans are expected to board the SS John W. Brown a liberty ship that brought troops to and from Europe during World War II to commemorate Veterans Day.
The ship will take veterans from Dundalk to the Inner Harbor and then back to Dundalk, where friends and family will be waiting as if they had just returned from war.
Mayor Martin O’Malley and U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland Democrat, are scheduled to speak during the two-hour trip, said Capt. Brian Hope, the organizer of the event.
He hopes the event will make a younger generation aware of the hardships of battle.
“I think we all know that this country is going to be embroiled for a long time in this struggle against terrorism,” Capt. Hope said. “It’ll give them a better understanding as to what our veterans have gone through in support of this country.”
Thomas E. Bratten Jr., secretary of the state Department of Veterans Affairs, said the day will be poignant, given newfound American patriotism since hijacked jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a rural Pennsylvania field.
“I think what the people did in New York for their comrades was unquestionably an act of heroism and I think they’re veterans in their own way,” the 58-year-old Vietnam veteran said. “It is unbelievable.”
The department has ceremonies planned at all five of its cemeteries in Cheltenham, Crownsville, Flintstone, Hurlock and Owings Mills. There also will be ceremonies at the state Vietnam and Korean War memorials in Baltimore, and the state World War II Memorial in Annapolis.
American flags will be placed on the grave of each veteran buried at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium, president and owner John Armiger said.