REISTERSTOWN, Md. (WJZ) — The Maryland National Guard held their annual wreath-laying ceremony, honoring guardsmen who gave their lives protecting our nation.

For 19 years, the Maryland National Guard has held a ceremony honoring those who died protecting our freedom and serving the citizens of Maryland. And while this year may look different, the message behind it remains the same.

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One by one, their names read as their ID tags are hung on the Maryland National Guard Fallen Warrior Memorial at Camp Fretterd Military Reservation in Reisterstown. Honoring those who paid the ultimate price protecting our nation.

“It’s also important for our country to know of the sacrifices that have been made and that are still being made,” Brigadier General Janeen L. Birckhead said.

In total, 13 Maryland National Guardsmen were honored. Command Sergeant Major Richard Magnum served with several of the men whose names are on the memorial.

“Command Sergeant Major Heller was a very good friend of mine, we were both E-9s here at Camp Fretterd,” Command Sergeant Major Magnum said.

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For him, this ceremony is a way to recognize the soldiers who answered the call. Some fighting for our freedom thousands of miles away, others serving citizens in our own backyard.

“Coming out here gives us the chance to have our own ceremony for our own soldiers, our own warriors,” Command Sergeant Major Magnum said.

And with taps playing, those warriors are saluted. Remembered, honored for all they gave.

“They’ve given their lives for their country,” Brigadier General Birckhead said. “We will always remember, and we will never forget.”

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The family of the fallen did not attend this year’s ceremony, but they were able to watch it streamed live online.

Sean Streicher