BERLIN — The Worcester County Veterans Memorial Foundation will present a virtual Veterans Day program this year, rather than hold the traditional ceremony at the memorial grounds in Ocean Pines.
The virtual ceremony can be viewed online at Youtube.com/c/OceanPinesAssociation1. Links can also be found on websites and social media for both the Worcester County Veterans Memorial Foundation and the Ocean Pines Association.
Ocean Pines also will run the ceremony on Mediacom and Comcast public access channels at 11 a.m. on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11.
Veterans Memorial Foundation President Marie Gilmore said concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the in-person ceremony this year.
“We have a duty and an obligation to honor our veterans, to keep their memory alive,” Gilmore said. “The mission of the Veterans Memorial Foundation is to remember and honor all those who have served, and Veterans Day is a perfect opportunity for us to do that.”
Veterans Day ceremonies in Ocean Pines typically draw thousands of people from across the region. Because of the circumstances this year, Gilmore said a virtual ceremony was the next best thing.
“In light of the current environment with COVID-19, rather than cancel our usual ceremony, we have chosen to put together a virtual ceremony,” she said. “The segments were recorded separately and compiled into a cohesive video by Josh Davis, the Ocean Pines Association’s marketing and public relations director.”
The virtual ceremony includes an introduction by Gilmore, emcee duties by U.S. Air Force retired SMSgt. Mike Masterson, a keynote address by Maryland National Guard CW3 Kaylan Harrington, and performances by the Delmarva Chorus, and Eric Nilsson of American Legion Post 166.
Additionally, American Legion Post 123 of Berlin and American Legion Post 166 of Ocean City jointly offer the posting of colors and a closing rifle volley, and a wreath ceremony honors three female veterans.
Along with producing the virtual ceremony, Gilmore said the Veterans Memorial Foundation continues to seek funding for its education programs. In August, the foundation announced it would not hold its biggest fundraiser of the year, an annual golf tournament, also because of COVID-19 concerns. Educational programs each year include a tour of the memorial grounds and distribution of an educational booklet for children. Last year, more than 650 fifth graders visited the site. For more information on the Memorial Foundation or to donate, visit www.opvets.org.