Marylanders across the state recognized fallen service members in various events and ceremonies this Memorial Day.

The day is observed on the last Monday of May, giving citizens an extended holiday weekend to honor loved ones who died while serving.

Among the remembrances was the 56th annual Memorial Day ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens which took place with an observance in the Circle of Immortals monument on the grounds of the cemetery and is reserved for Marylander’s killed in action. It is also home to twenty-six service members who died in Vietnam. There were eleven honorees at this year’s Memorial Day observance.

The family of Airman Makai Cummings sat silently in the Circle of Immortals, close by to the freshly laid gravesite of their son. Cummings was killed in a hit-and-run on May 8, while traveling back to base from a visit with family in Baltimore. The City High School graduate was recently honored at BWI Airport when he was brought home via a dignified transfer. Since Cummings’ death was so recent, a moment of silence took place for him and he will be honored at next year’s ceremony.

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“Today we will gather to honor and show our gratitude to our service members, to remember their sacrifice, and to reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day,” said Jack Mitchell, President of Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.

The MD Patriot Guard participates at the Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens Memorial Day Ceremony on May 29, 2023.
The MD Patriot Guard participates at the Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens Memorial Day Ceremony on May 29, 2023. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)
The parents of Airman Makai Cummings mourn at his fresh gravesite during the Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens Memorial Day Ceremony on May 29, 2023. Cummings passed away on May 8, 2023. (Kaitlin Newman)
US Marine James Lutz, active 1969 - 1975, poses for a portrait at at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens Memorial Day Ceremony on May 29, 2023.
U.S. Marine James Lutz, active 1969 - 1975, poses for a portrait at at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens Memorial Day Ceremony on May 29, 2023. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)
The Joint Base Andrews Firing Party participates at the Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens Memorial Day Ceremony on May 29, 2023.
The Joint Base Andrews Firing Party participates at the Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens Memorial Day Ceremony on May 29, 2023. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)
A beam of sunlight illuminates a gravestone at the Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens Memorial Day Ceremony on May 29, 2023. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

King’s Memorial Park Cemetery

Memorial observances also took place at King’s Memorial Park in West Baltimore County. The observance, in the year that the facility celebrates 50 years, started with jazz music and the Buffalo Soldiers performing military honors and featured special guest Governor Wes Moore and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones.

“Today on Memorial Day, we remember those who gave everything; we remember those who left and served and didn’t make it home; we remember those family members who are left holding the burden and left holding the pain of that sacrifice, and of a life that was devoted to service … today we honor those, we memorialize those, and we celebrate those who are the best among us: those who served, and gave all,” Moore shared in a video online after the ceremony for those who couldn’t attend the service in person.

King’s Memorial Park Cemetery is the largest African American-owned and operated cemetery in the eastern region and Monday received an executive citation for providing “a place of comfort and serenity” and “providing a place of peace and remembrance for loved ones who have passed on” from Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewki Jr.

“So for all of you today who mourn, I say this, we mourn with you. Our hearts are broken with you, we stand with you, today and everyday because every bit of our freedom and every gift we have received is because your kin made it so,” Moore said at the event.

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Gov. Wes Moore speaks during a Memorial Day Service at King Memorial Park on May 29, 2023. Founded in 1973, the cemetery celebrated it’s 50th anniversary this year.
Gov. Wes Moore speaks during a Memorial Day Service at King Memorial Park on May 29, 2023. Founded in 1973, the cemetery celebrated it’s 50th anniversary this year. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)
United States flags are planted all around King Memorial Park before a Memorial Day Service event on May 29, 2023. Founded in 1973, the cemetery celebrated it’s 50th anniversary this year. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)
Gov. Wes Moore, right, shares a laugh on-stage with House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones and Victor C. March, Sr., president of March Funeral Homes, during a Memorial Day Service at King Memorial Park on May 29, 2023. Founded in 1973, the cemetery celebrated it’s 50th anniversary this year. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)
Gov. Wes Moore points to his mother, Joy Moore, during his speech at a Memorial Day Service at King Memorial Park on May 29, 2023. Founded in 1973, the cemetery celebrated it’s 50th anniversary this year. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

Kaitlin Newman is a photojournalist specializing in multimedia coverage. Her main areas of focus are politics, conflict, feature and breaking news. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Professional Writing from Towson University, which is where she is also the professor of photojournalism.

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