Friday, May 25, 2007

The Old Armory Sees Another Group of Soldiers off for War Duty

As noon approached on a beautiful spring day in Elkton, we were honored to attend an activation ceremony for 131 soldiers of Company D, a part of the 1st Battalion of the 17th Infantry Regiment, which is joining 1,170 other Maryland National Guardsmen heading to Iraq. The Lt Col. J. Victor McCool Armory basked in the mid-day sun on the eve of the Memorial Day Weekend, as American flags waved in the slight breeze and anxious family members stayed near loved-ones. When Captain Jonathan Preteroti, the company commander, called the company to order, he remarked that it was with great sadness that the men were leaving behind their families, but they had a mission to accomplish and the company would serve the nation with honor. The company has been activated three times for overseas deployments during time of war, World War I, World War II, and now the global war on terrorism, he added. Joining in to honor these brave soldiers were Delegates Michael Smigiel and Dick Sossi, along with Senator E. J. Pipkin and Elkton Mayor Joseph Fisona. On behalf of the state delegation, Smigiel presented the company commander with five Maryland Flags to be carried with the troops in Iraq. “As you view these flags each day, let them serve as a reminder that you’re in our prayers and thoughts, each single day,” he said to the troops assembled before them.

Hundreds were on hand to give these men a send off and the Society is pleased to honor their duty by recording this important day and the hard months ahead as we archive material, including many photographs from this memorial day weekend, the published materials from the Cecil Whig, and an audio recording of the ceremonies, which we are turning into our first podcast. Our thoughts are with the soldiers and their families on this call-up as they depart from Elkton on a nine month mission to protecting the nation from terrorism. As our nation's defenders begin their long journey and say good-by to loved ones, please view our slide show honoring these brave men. We're also beta testing a new and improved flash program for our slide shows so you may want to check this one out too. We'll have it out of beta soon, but please fveel free to take a glance at this presentation too.

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