There are many beautiful sights to behold on Ocean City’s Boardwalk, and near the top of the list these days are the banners recognizing the local residents who are bravely serving their country in various capacities.
There are many controversial aspects to the Boardwalk. Some laud while others despise the “No Profanity Please” signs. The street performers polarize the general public. Inevitably, some will be offended this summer when they learn they can no longer smoke on the Boardwalk. Many are outraged at the cost of goods along the oceanfront walkway.
With all those realities at play, we should be able to agree the addition of the Hometown Hero banners on the Boardwalk has been inspiring. It’s a unique way of reminding people about the sacrifices many locals have and are making for them. It’s a tremendous symbol of hometown pride along a promenade traversed by millions of visitors.
The program is organized by the Ocean City Elks Lodge. It honors active duty personnel who hail from Worcester County. Twenty banners will hang on the Boardwalk from the pier to 4th Street from late April to early October. At the conclusion of the fair weather season, a ceremony will be held and the banners presented to the families of the service men and women. The tasteful banners feature a photo of the individual along with his or her name, title and military branch. The clubs raises the money for the banners through sponsorships and there is no cost to the city.
Last year after the presentation ceremony Mayor Rick Meehan announced the program would be returning this year, remarking how the banners were a source of compliments to the city last summer, the first year they hung.
“We receive complaints about a lot of different things and on the Boardwalk we hear complaints about specific things, but one thing that was consistent this summer were compliments about the banners. People were happy to see those banners in place and they really did serve a purpose and recognize the true heroes of our country — the men and women in our Armed Services,” Meehan said.
These banners are a wonderful addition to Ocean City and we hope it’s an annual tradition that continues for years to come. Congratulations to the Elks Lodge for spearheading the effort, the sponsors who fund the banners and the city for allowing it to happen.
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