They were infantrymen, seamen, cavalrymen and pilots. They were in Korea and Vietnam. Many fought in World War II, some in World War I, and at least one saw duty in the Spanish-American War of 1898.
They died as young men on the battlefield and as old men at home. They lie next to mothers and wives and children, beneath thick cedars on a high ridge at Good Shepherd Cemetery.
On Saturday, members of the Yingling-Ridgely Post 7472 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Ellicott City donned their caps and walked among their fellow servicemen. They placed miniature American flags at their graves, amid flowers and wind chimes and bird feeders left by family members. Then the veterans held a brief ceremony at the burial ground's entrance.
The VFW post years ago adopted this 134-year-old cemetery outside Ellicott City. VFW member Randy Roby, who serves as post chaplain, said he thinks not only of the veterans who have died but also of their families. It's important, he said, that family members know others have come to pay their respects.
After November has passed, and winter has come and gone, and spring has blossomed, the members of VFW Post 7472 will return to Good Shepherd Cemetery, tending the veterans' graves once more and planting flags for Memorial Day.
-- SUSAN DEFORD