by Lisa Tome
The sky in North East will not be lit up with fireworks next summer.
Organizers of the Cecil County Salute to Veterans announced last week that the traditional salute and fireworks will no longer be held as it has been for years on July 3 in North East.
"The committee has decided not to proceed forward with future events," said Matt Carter, Chair of the Salute to Cecil County Veterans. "The membership has decided this. That does not preclude others from assuming ownership of the event."
Salute to Veterans began in the early 1990s. Later, it was set up as a non-profit organization.
"It was intended to be a rotating event (throughout the county). But it got to North East, got stuck, and never left," said Carter.
He said there are many reasons why the event has been brought to a halt. There have been difficulties with both funding and recruiting committee volunteers. One of the greatest difficulties has been the sale of the barge that was used to launch the fireworks, which were the culminating event for the salute. "The barge is being sold. We don't know to whom or when. It is unavailable to us, potentially. Now we would have to do ground-based fireworks. There are so many unknowns and this has become a very expensive event," said Carter.
He said that over the years, the event lost some of its meaning. Initially, it was started as a way to honor those who had served the country.
"A small minority (of those attending) observed the program for the veterans. It's been increasingly not as effective as we want it to be. It was not our mission to put on a fireworks display," said Carter.
And although the Salute to Veterans in its current state has dissolved, Carter said the committee will reach out to service organizations and "see if they want to pick it up and run with it."
"The sole purpose of the Cecil County Salute to Veterans (committee) was this. We are going to wind it down. But we will have final discussions with the stakeholders," said Carter.
The Salute was cancelled in 2013 and not rescheduled due to weather. In 2014, due to predicted lightning storms, the event was moved to July 6.