Updated: Dec 17, 2020
“I remember all he wanted was dry socks. He said his feet were always freezing. It was horrible.”
Dan Ringenbach of Annapolis took a few moments to chat Tuesday November 10, after visiting the grave of his veteran father Maurice, who is buried at the Crownsville Veterans Cemetery., The late Annapolis resident was both his son’s friend and friend Dad.
The veterans cemetery is a peaceful and somewhat remote location to contemplate the lives of loved ones who have put on the uniform.
Maurice E Ringenbach passed away at 96 August 19, 2019. He served in Patton’s 3rd Army during the Battle of the Bulge in World War Two.
“He said they were in the woods,” Dan recalled. “They dug their foxholes. He said the Germans had their big gun set (to fire) on top of the trees. They’d shoot the tops of the trees. The huge branches would fall...he said it was horrible.”
“But he didn’t really talk about it much.”
His family retains a small spoil of war from that time. Dan said his father had gotten permission from his commanding officer to retain a rifle, a German Mauser, he had retrieved from a German prisoner of war.
“We still have it in the family.”
Although Dan didn’t serve due to physical limitations, his like many, is one that has risked all through the generations to defend the red, white, and blue.
He said his grandfather served in World War One. He was a French immigrant who got to America and turned right back around to fight the Germans.
And their service extends into the 21st century.
“My nephew just got out of the Army,” he said.
He reflected that his father’s passing last year may have ended up being something of a blessing. The older Rimgenbach suffered from dementia, and might have had to have endured isolation if he had lived through the pandemic, seeing loved ones only through the window of a nursing home.
“He wouldn’t of understood,” Dan said. “I think he’s much better, and happier, with my mom.”
He was plain and simple when reflecting on those who have served.
“I’m very thankful. We owe the veterans everything,” he said. “They can tax me more to take care of them. That’s all I got to say. I love the guys.”
“We in Maryland have approximately 385,000 veterans, and an additional 30,000 active duty service members—another approximately 18,000 Reservists and National Guard,” said Dana Burl, Program Director of the Outreach and Advocacy Program at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Annapolis. “And that does not even account for their dependents. We’re firm believers that families serve too.”
She was straightforward about recognizing he contribution of vets.
“We owe them an extreme debt of gratitude,” she said. “It is because of their service that we enjoy the freedoms that we have.”
“There were veterans before us who were drafted,” she went on. “They raised their right hand and said the oath to serve. We have a massive volunteer population of veterans where they chose to serve voluntarily, fully understanding what potentially could be the cost. It really is the ultimate degree of service. It is because of them that we have a free nation.”
A ceremony honoring Veterans Day is scheduled for 11 a.m., November 11, 2020, at the Crownsville Veterans Cemetery. The one-hour ceremony may be weather dependent. Those planning to attend should call the cemetery at 410-987-6320.
Pandemic protocols of mask wearing and social distancing are in place.
The intent is to limit attendance to 250 people, but: “We’re not going to turn a friend or family member away,” she said.
Veterans Day is a holiday that evolved from Armistice Day, which commemorated the end of World War One in 1918, 102 years ago.. There is much history and there are many facts surrounding the holiday.
At it’s heart, it is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the tens of millions of Americans who have served to protect our republic from all enemies foreign and domestic, during our 244 history,
To Veterans and their families: Thank you!