Bernie Fowler receives a citation from the National American Legion
Bernie Fowler, left, receives a citation from the National American Legion for 60 years of service to the organization.

Prince Frederick, MD – Memorial Day 2017 proved to be perfect for a traditional early afternoon ceremony on the Calvert County Courthouse’s Veterans Green. Local American Legion posts, Naval Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (NJROTC) cadets from all four of Calvert’s public high schools, as well as cadets from the Calvert Unit of the Civil Air Patrol participated Monday, May 29.

American Legion Calvert County Commander Jay Bolles remarked that he has noticed more people attending Memorial Day ceremonies in the county and told the gathering “go and pass the word about what Memorial Day is all about.”

In an unexpected segment of the program, local American Legion commanders presented former state senator and Calvert County commissioner Bernie Fowler with a citation from the National American Legion. Fowler, a World War II veteran who turned 93 March 30, was honored for 60 years of service to the American Legion. Fowler, who has become famous for his advocacy for a clean Patuxent River, still marches with other Legion members in local parades and again participated in the wreath-laying ceremony.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Mark J. Belton, a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, delivered the Memorial Day address. Belton spoke of several service people who lost their lives, some outside the realm of conventional combat. One of those mentioned was Robert Stethem, a Navy Seabee diver. Stethem, whose family lives in Charles County, was executed by Hezbollah terrorists in Beirut in June of 1985. “He was killed by terrorists for what he represented,” said Belton.

Of all service men and women who had died in the line of duty, Belton declared, “we commend their lives not as the fallen but as the revered.”

Other event speakers included NJROTC cadets from Calvert, Huntingtown, Northern and Patuxent high schools and a CAP cadet and Daughters of the American Revolution John Hanson Chapter Regent Mollie King. As wreaths were laid at the green’s six monuments, a CAP cadet played Taps and American Legion Post Number 274’s Honor Guard performed a gun salute.

Civil Air Patrol cadets Abigail and Hannah Fisher sang The Star Spangled Banner.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com