Hospice of the Chesapeake celebrates its fifth annual Veterans Tribute Wall unveiling

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It is a rare treat that a living veteran is able to participate in the unveiling of his own Honor Salute during the annual Veteran Tribute Wall event. World War II and Korean War Navy veteran Dominic Vicino, pictured right, attended with his family, including his wife, Grace Vicino.

One woman retired as a lieutenant colonel after 35 years with the Navy. Eight served in World War II. Another Marine Corps veteran continued his service as a police officer in Washington, D.C.

Each of these veterans is now represented on the Veterans Tribute Wall which hangs in the Chesapeake Bay Room in the administrative building of Hospice of the Chesapeake’s John & Cathy Belcher Campus in Pasadena. The wall features photos of veteran patients during their Honor Salutes, a ceremony recognizing and thanking them for their service to our country.

During the fifth annual Unveiling of the Veterans Tribute Wall on Aug. 2, the pictures of 19 honorees were revealed. Guests enjoyed dinner followed by a moving ceremony that included Honor Salutes from active duty service members and a Naval Academy midshipman led by Vietnam War Navy veteran Vince Zegowitz. Army Sgt. Alexis Kwamin of Fort George G. Meade shared her experience as an Honor Salute volunteer that inspired her to write a poem, which she also shared. There also were messages from retired Navy Chaplain Wayne Bumbry, President and CEO Ben Marcantonio and the evening’s master of ceremonies, retired Navy Capt. Bill Malicki. Army Spc. Tenekeyia McGaskey of Fort Meade performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.”

Most moving of all, though, were the words of love and pride that came from the family members who attended the event, as they remembered their loved ones and shared poignant stories of how their parent, sibling or spouse had served. Over and over again, the family members shared how important the Honor Salute was to their loved ones. For some, the act seemed as if it were a last rite. More than one family said their veteran died shortly after the salute was performed. The tributes were made particularly special as it was acknowledged that one of the honorees, World War II and Korean War Navy veteran Dominic Vicino was there to see his photo take its place of honor on the wall with other veterans who had passed away.

The photos will replace the photos that have been on display since last year. The photos from 2017 will be given to the family of each of the honored veterans and their names will be added to a plaque that hangs at the Hospice of the Chesapeake.

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