By Jessica Albert

TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) — Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens hosts a Memorial Day ceremony every year to honor those who pay the ultimate price. 

The ceremony specifically honors those with ties to Maryland who lost their lives while serving the country.

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The state lost three people over the last year: 

  • Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Burns, of Severna Park, was killed Aug. 31, 2021, in a helicopter crash that happened during a training mission off the coast of San Diego
  • Navy Lt. Junior Grade Aaron Fowler died April 17 during his military training at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii
  • Airman 1st Class Dewayne Stevens, of Chester, passed away March 24 at his duty station at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada

“This is not about all who serve,” Alan Walden of American Flag Foundation, Inc. said. “That comes in November . . . This one is in honor of those who paid that debt with their lives and their blood and their sacrifice.”

The parents of Airman 1st Class Stevens, from Chester, Maryland, attended the ceremony. Steven died in March while stationed at an Air Force base in Nevada.

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“It’s human nature, right, that we celebrate the living and not celebrate people who have passed,” Stevens’ stepfather, Master Sgt. Stephen Zakszeski, said.

Every year, the Memorial Day Ceremony is open to the community to show everyone that the holiday is about the men and women who paid the ultimate price for America. 

“This isn’t just simply an extra day off on a long holiday weekend that begins the summer,” Walden said. “This is a day to remember, to remember that others paid for every free breath that you ever get to take.”

The holiday also recognizes the loved ones of the fallen.

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“Unfortunately, we have to be here for this reason, but it is really nice to see that they do this for these families,” Zakszeski said.

Jessica Albert