- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Residents throughout the metropolitan area attended Memorial Day parades and ceremonies yesterday, displaying their patriotism and their respect for America’s veterans and current service members.

Thousands of spectators lined Independence Avenue near the Mall to cheer on participants in a patriotic parade, which included dozens of high school bands, military units and floats. Also marching in the procession were some World War II veterans who stayed for the parade after Saturday’s dedication of the National World War II Memorial.

Standing in a light drizzle and waiting to march, Harry Lynd, 80, of Montgomeryville, Pa., said it was important to be in the parade.

“We’ve got to,” said the Army Air Corps veteran who was with a Pennsylvania chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “How much longer do I have?”

Across the Potomac River at Arlington National Cemetery, hundreds of military officials, dignitaries and visitors turned out to see President Bush lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

In remarks delivered in the cemetery’s amphitheater, Mr. Bush expressed appreciation for the freedom America’s soldiers have kept secure. He also mourned the loss of life inflicted in each of the nation’s conflicts.

Mr. Bush also spoke of the achievements of World War II veterans and of the sacrifice of soldiers fighting the war on terrorism.

“Through our history, America has gone to war reluctantly, because we have known the costs of war,” he said. “And the war on terror we’re fighting today has brought great costs of its own.”

Mr. Bush’s words provoked resounding applause from the crowd, which gave the president a standing ovation at his introduction and at the conclusion of his remarks.

The pitch of the crowd’s cheers and the flurry of miniature American flags that audience members waved for the president was rivaled only by the crowd’s enthusiastic welcome to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who introduced the president.

“Freedom is the right of every person and it is worth fighting for, even dying for,” Mr. Rumsfeld said. “Freedom is why America’s young men and women fight today.”

At the parade in the District, American Indians from the Nez Perce Tribe and the Mohawk Reserve led the procession. They were followed by dozens of motorcycle riders, who participated in the weekend’s Rolling Thunder demonstration for missing prisoners of war.

Some World War II veterans marched with their own organizations, including U.S. Submarine Veterans WWII, World War II medical personnel and Iwo Jima Veterans. Veterans units came from all 50 states and from some of the other Allied nations in World War II.

“I feel like a kid of 15,” said Joseph Cicippio, 73, who was marching with a Pennsylvania drum and bugle corps. “This is my dream.”

Mr. Cicippio spent more than five years as a hostage in Beirut after being captured by militants in 1986. He said he got through captivity by humming the tunes and practicing in his mind the drills of his musical unit, Reilly Raiders.

A service also was conducted last night by the American World War II Orphans Network at the newly dedicated memorial on the Mall.

Elsewhere yesterday, members of American Legion Post 184 in Herndon performed a Memorial Day ceremony at Chestnut Grove Cemetery. The service included the dedication of a tree for U.S. Coast Guard Damage Controlman 3rd Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal, who was killed April 24 in an attack in Iraq.

In Rockville, about 10,000 people attended the city’s 60th annual Memorial Day parade, which included nearly 100 entries ranging from high school marching bands to Boy Scout troops to youth dance troupes and clowns.

Also yesterday, Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. participated in a ceremony at a historic cemetery in Towson. Virginia Gov. Mark Warner was joined by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry at the 120th annual Memorial Day parade in Portsmouth, Va.

• Sean Salai contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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