The daily boardwalk flag-raising ceremony will continue in a new location at the Ocean City Music Pier starting on Saturday, May 29.
A dedication ceremony is planned for 8:50 a.m. on May 29 and the flag-raising will take place at that time every day through Sept. 11. The event includes the playing of the national anthem and a medley of patriotic songs.
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 to give people more space to participate in the daily ritual.
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 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 here 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 said in a news release. “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 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 miniature 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.