OCEAN PINES – Officials with the Worcester County Veterans Memorial at Ocean Pines Foundation will hold their annual Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.
Among the guests will be keynote speaker Nathan Pearson, World War II veteran and past chaplain and commander of American Legion Post 166 in Ocean City.
Pearson has had close connections with the memorial since the beginning, he said, and was an original designer for the Patriots Pathway that goes through the memorial’s garden.
The speaker has served on numerous Ocean Pines committees in recent years, including the Ocean Pines Board of Directors and the 20th Anniversary committee where he acted as chairman.
“We need people who appreciate the sacrifices of veterans and who can communicate that effectively,” Memorial Board of Directors President Marie Gilmore said. “[Pearson] is a good speaker and always has something informative to share with the crowd.”
Although he has given the benediction at previous ceremonies, Pearson said this will be his first time as a keynote speaker.
“I am certainly honored and privileged to be speaking at this event,” he said.
Junior members of American Legion Post 166 and the organization’s NJROTC will also be in attendance and will deliver the pledge and act as the honor guard for the ceremony.
Fred Wise of the Marine Corps League First State Detachment of Ocean View, Del. will serve as the master of ceremonies for the event.
The location has hosted Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies since its dedication May 30, 2005.
“Ocean Pines has a lot of veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War,” Gilmore said. “People enjoy coming to the ceremonies because they appreciate the memorial.”
Approximately 1,000 people attend the ceremony each year to hear the patriotic music and the guest speakers, according to Gilmore.
“Attendance is actually 25 percent of what we usually have for Memorial Day,” she said.
This year’s Veterans Day ceremony will last 50 minutes to an hour, and attendees are encouraged to bring chairs although some seating will be provided.
Officials will also be available before and after the event to collect faded and worn American flags for a Flag Retirement Ceremony that will be held at the Veterans Memorial Nov. 19 from 9 a.m.-noon, according to Gilmore.
The burning ceremony, in addition to other events the memorial holds, will uphold the foundation’s mission to educate the community, provide outreach and honor the men and women of the armed forces.
In the event of rain, the ceremony will be moved to the Community Church at Ocean Pines.
“The Veterans Memorial has been near and dear to everyone in Ocean Pines,” Gilmore said. “Community donations built it and community donations continue to sustain it.”
The memorial was dedicated in 2005 and was built with donations and seed money from the Ocean Pines 35th Anniversary Celebration in 2003.
For more information, visit www.opvets.com.