ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Aberdeen Proving Ground leaders, post and local residents, veterans and scout troops gathered to remember those lost in the defense of the nations during the Memorial Day Tribute at the former Edgewood Arsenal Cemetery on APG South (Edgewood) May 30.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5337 and American Legion Post 17 co-hosted the program with the Knights of Columbus Corpus Christi Council 6188.

Soldiers from the 143rd Ordnance Battalion fired a salute after the placing of wreaths by members of the VFW, American Legion and Corpus Christi Council ladies auxiliaries. Timothy Baird, Knights of Columbus, hosted the program which included the invocation by Chaplain (Capt.) Jonathan Morse, Garrison Catholic priest, the benediction from Dick Miller, chaplain, Post 5337, and a reading of the cemetery history by Olivia Webster, Girl Scout Troop 4230.

Guests included Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco, commander of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command.

The Fort George G. Meade Army Field Band quintet provided music.

The program began with the traditional procession of members of supporting organizations walking from Wise Road onto the main path leading to the cemetery which cannot be seen from the main road. Along with the VFW and American Legion members and ladies auxiliaries, these groups included the Harford District Eagle Scout honor guard; Girl Scout Troop 4230, Abingdon; Boy Scout Troop 810, Abingdon; Knights of Columbus, St. Francis Xavier Assembly; and the Edgewood American Legion Riders motorcycle club.

Guest speaker Col. Orlando W. Ortiz, APG garrison and deputy installation commander, thanked those who took the time to attend the observance.

“Many do not come, many do not remember, “ he said. “I feel certain that those we honor would not begrudge them this day of rest. It is part of what they fought for; the freedom to be at liberty to enjoy the day. It is a very American right.”

He said that while traditional means of remembrance include placing flowers and flags at grave sites, flying the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon and pausing to reflect at 3 p.m., during the National Moment of Remembrance, it is most important to renew the pledge of aid to widows, widowers and orphans of the fallen and to aid disabled veterans.

“We also do our part at APG by hosting Gold Star Families from throughout the region during our Armed Forces Week and by taking advantage of one of the Army’s newer programs " Survivor Outreach Services " to open our arms wider to embrace more of those affected by the loss of our Warriors,” Ortiz said.

“We face more somber moments as we place the wreaths, salute and bless the dead and bow our heads to the sound of Taps once more,” he said, “but I think our fallen comrades would want us to go on with our day. Pull out the grill, watch a game " whatever makes you happy until we pick up our burdens again tomorrow.”

The unusually hot morning saw several attendees overcome by the heat but one attendee, in particular, was overcome by the moment as the familiar notes of “Taps” drifted over the listeners.

Tiffany Costagliola wiped tears from her eyes as the song played and she stood with her daughters, Sofia, 9; Nadia, 6; and Maia, 4, all dressed in red, white and blue, and carrying American flags like their mother.

“That songs brings a lot of emotion,” Costagliola said, after praying with the girls at the cemetery gate. “Thankfully, I haven’t lost someone, but I was reminded of a friend and remembering his daughters.”

“This is their first real patriotic experience,” she added about her daughters. “I think it’s important for them to know that we should take the time to honor those who gave up everything for us.”

Costagliola is the daughter of Clint Zaengle, Chief of APG’s Plans and Operations, DPTMS.