By Elaine Van Develde
Veterans. Honoring them for a moment on one day at a once-annual small-town gathering on Veterans Day is not enough, Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli told the crowd gathered for a ceremony in the borough on Wednesday morning.
“It is up to us to honor the lives that we lost — to honor all those who have served our country,” he said. “We honor them through events like this. But we should honor them in everyday life as well.”
Noting the presence of young school children in attendance, as part of the program, the mayor continued, saying that it is “important to note that it is up to the parents to make sure that our children realize the immense sacrifice they’ve (veterans)made.
“It is because of them that we are able to enjoy the freedom and liberties we are afforded. Ceremony is a small token of gratitude to these men and women.”
The mayor’s sentiment was echoed by featured speaker U.S. Marine Corps Major Joshua Zager, a 1989 Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School Graduate who served in Marine Fighter Attack squadrons 251, aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt and flew 43 combat missions over Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom.
“People are always thanking me for my service,” Major Zager said, turning his thanks to those serving their own towns at home. “It was my pleasure.
“I’ve stood the watch many times … Right now I’d like to thank our policemen and volunteer firefighters. They’re standing watch right now so that tonight we can sleep safely in our beds.”
That theme of hometown gratitude was emulated in Rumson.
There, First Sgt. James Duffney, 177 Fighter Wing in the NJ Air National Guard, gave thanks as well. “He thanked all those veterans present for their service and remembered all those from Rumson who have passed on,” Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl told Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect, after missing his speech by a minute.
Yes, thank you. Thank you to the veterans who died serving our country. Thank you to those who served, came home, raised their families in the area, lived their lives out serving their communities, or just being a good neighbor. Thank you to those now serving. Thank you to the police and firemen protecting and serving their communities every single day.
Take a look at the above slideshow for a glimpse into Veterans Day in Rumson and Fair Haven. Don’t forget to click on the lower right icon to enlarge.
— Photos and slideshow/Elaine Van Develde