The 145th observance of Memorial Day in Westminster, Maryland, was graced by a Navy SEAL who once called Westminster home.
Navy Commander Matthew W. Shipley delivered the Memorial Day address during this year’s observance.
Shipley finished high school at Westminster High School in 1984, and went on to attend the United States Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1991. He served as Executive Officer of Navy Reserve Naval Special Warfare Group TWO Detachment 309; Executive Officer of SEAL Team THREE, deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, in 2006; and NSWTU Commander Manda Bay, Kenya.
Shipley is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Defense Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, and Navy Achievement Medal, among other unit, campaign, and service awards.
In his address, Shipley looked back at the history of Memorial Day, saying: “[America] remembered their fallen heroes with freshly cut flowers and markers on their graves. As years passed by and America became involved in other wars, the day became a time to remember the fallen from each of our wars going back to the first, our fight for independence.”
He then talked about loss and sacrifice, and his own experience of loss while serving in Iraq: “Wars have a very real human cost and it is important that we think about that cost and all those who came before us who paid the price or those who might do the same in the future. Yet, we should not limit this to once a year; each of us needs to remember this daily, especially when we make decisions on how we choose to conduct ourselves as a society.”