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Stars & Stripes at Chesapeake Beach

Honoring our fallen heroes

A youth troop adds their reverance to memorial wreaths at Stars and Stripes 2015. <<photo by Nancy Feverle>>

Memorial Day gets due honor at Chesapeake Beach. The annual Stars & Stripes Festival, now in its fifth year, remembers the soldiers and sailors, Marines and fliers who have given their lives defending the United States of America.
    “The meaning of the day was becoming lost,” said Connie O’Dell, who manages special events for the Calvert County town.
    During the three-day event, the press of daily living lightens. Speeches, historical activities, speakers and re-enactments and emcampment, live musical and stage performances, demonstrations and fun for kids turn our attention to “the true meaning of Memorial Day.” The town decorates for the festival.
    Each year commemorates a different war. Last year, it was the Korean War; this year the Civil War commemorated at Veterans’ Memorial Park overlooking the Chesapeake and nearby Kellam’s Field.
    The 5th Annual Stars & Stripes Festival begins on Saturday, May 28, at 10am with Civil War historian Bradley Gottfried, the president of the College of Southern Maryland, talking about the war’s effect on Southern Maryland.
    The Naval Academy Band’s Brass Quintet plays a patriotic concert, likely the same music they’ve played for presidents.
    Sunday is Family Fun Day, with lots of entertainments for all ages from 11am to 4pm at Kellam’s Field. Along with all the fun, games and crafts, the main stage offers Civil War-era music and theater. Twin Beach Players act Our American Cousin, the play President and Mrs. Lincoln were attending when he was assassinated.
    Lincoln is a main figure at this year’s festival. Impersonator Duke Thompson describes Lincoln in story and song. Historian Michael Kauffman discusses the Maryland connection in the assassination. The 16th President returns Monday, Memorial Day, for one of his famous speeches at Veterans’ Memorial Park.
    Best of all, the entire Festival is free, including Sunday’s light picnic sponsored by Stallings-Williams American Legion Post 206 (1pm).