TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) — An yearly tradition was renewed Monday in Baltimore County as Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens hosted the 54th annual Memorial Day ceremony.

After a cancellation in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Timonium cemetery honored six Maryland service members who died since 2019.

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“Today, obviously, is Memorial Day, a day set aside specifically to remember our war dead,” Maryland Secretary of Veteran Affairs George Owings III said Monday.

The ceremony honored the lives of U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, U.S. Marine Corps First Lt. Hugh C. McDowell, U.S. Navy Ensign Joshua K. Watson, U.S. Marine Corps Major Moises Navas, U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class J.D. Hilty and U.S. Army First Lt. Dax Conrad.

Families of the service members received “Loved and Lost” medals and flowers during the ceremony.

“Preserving their memory is our sacred duty,” Md. Air National Guard Brigadier Gen. Matthew Dinmore said.

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The keynote speaker, Gold Star father Darrold Martin, was the father of Petty Officer First Class Xavier Martin, who died after a collision on the USS Fitzgerald off the coast of Japan in 2017.

“Until the day he died, he was the epitome of a sailor,” Martin said. “He was my best friend. He was my guy. I miss him every day. What I wouldn’t give to have one more hug from him.”

Over the weekend, the Historic Elkridge Young Marines lifted 3,500 flags on the veterans’ gravesites. The observance will include a wreath placement and a 21 gun salute. Maryland’s 9/11 Rolling Memorial will also be there.

You can watch the ceremony below:

 

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Paul Gessler