OCEAN CITY - The boardwalk flag raising and dedication ceremony that had been scheduled for 8:50 a.m. May 29 has been postponed due to the forecast for early that day.
According to a release, the ceremony will now take place at 8:50 a.m. on Memorial Day – May 31.
The daily flag-raising ceremony – a beloved tradition in Ocean City – will now continue in its new location at the Ocean City Music Pier starting May 31.
The flag-raising will take place at 8:50 a.m. every day from May 31 through Sept. 11. The event includes the playing of the national anthem and “God Bless the U.S.A.”
A newly installed flagpole in front of the Music Pier will be dedicated to the memory of three veterans from Ocean City: Joe Caserta, James “JR” Robinson and Bill Cruice. Family members of these men will be on hand for the ceremony.
Caserta, who died earlier this year, at age 98, was a tank driver in some of the fiercest World War II battles in Europe. His bravery earned him the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and countless other medals and honors. Robinson received two Purple Hearts and Presidential Unit Citation for his heroism in the Vietnam War. Cruice was a veteran of the wars in Korea and Vietnam and a founder of the American Legion Post 524, in Ocean City. Each was a regular attendee of the flag-raising ceremony.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to people like Joe, J.R. and Bill for their service to country and community,” Mayor Jay A. Gillian stated. “I’m proud to keep this patriotic event going and looking forward to seeing everybody take a moment each morning to pay tribute to our great nation.”
The flag-raising had been held in front of the water park on the boardwalk at Plymouth Place. Representatives of the park and local veterans groups worked with the city to put together a program for the flag-raising in front of the Music Pier, where there will be more space and also opportunities for veterans and the public to participate in the daily ritual. The soundtrack will be identical to the one that has always played.
The tradition of a flag-raising ceremony at the Music Pier dates back to July 4, 1940, and the event took on new meaning in the World War II years that followed before it was discontinued, in 1946.
In more recent years, Jim Gillian, owner of Gillian’s Island Water Park, first erected a flagpole during the construction of an adjacent mini-golf course. The flag was requested by a veteran POW who ran the boardwalk every day.
The flag-raising ceremony in front of the park began after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and has been held daily every summer since then from Memorial Day to Sept. 11.