TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ)–Maryland honors our fallen soldiers today. A Wicomico County native was the only Marylander killed in service in the past 12 months.

Pat Warren has more on the ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.

Those who cannot be here are remembered by those who can and who will continue to honor their service.

“Leaders and heroes like Sgt. Major Wardell Turner whose life mission was to rise above and who believed that you always leave a place better than you found it,” said Col. Tom Manion.

Sgt. Major Wardell Turner

Sgt. Major Wardell Turner

The Wicomico County native assigned to train Afghan security forces was killed when his vehicle was hit by an IED.

“We must promise to remember that peace is a fragile thing that demands constant vigilance,” said Brig. Gen. Timothy Gowan, Maryland Army National Guard.

This tribute is to all Marylanders who have given their lives, held in Dulaney Valley’s Circle of the Immortals, where 32 veterans killed in action in Vietnam and Iraq are buried.

“We must promise to remember that freedom is not free. It requires sacrifice, determination and toughness,” Gowan said.

Katherine Wardell tells WJZ the loss is not hers alone.

“He’s the only fallen that Maryland has lost this year, but he’s not the only one that gave the ultimate sacrifice. Specialist Joey Riley was not mentioned today, but our families have an eternal bond. He is the young man that died with my husband,” she said.

Specialist Riley was honored in his hometown in Ohio. His aunt and uncle who live in Frederick were here with the Turners today.

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Specialist Joey Riley

 

“It was devastating news because he was to be home in a week. Yep, along with Sgt. Major Turner they were going to be home in a week,” said Marcie and Chip Hendrick.

And while we are blessed to have men and women who are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, we can also look forward to a day when there are no new names to remember.

The Dulaney Valley Memorial Day ceremony is an annual tribute to Maryland’s fallen heroes.

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