Veterans to Be Honored Throughout Westfield
Two services will take place at 11 a.m. followed by one at 2 p.m.
Veterans Day will be commemorated with multiple services in Westfield on Friday, Nov. 11.
The Martin Wallberg Post Three of the American Legion will host a ceremony honoring veterans, both living and deceased, at the World War I Memorial on the island in the intersection of North Avenue. and E. Broad Street.
Chaplain Bob D’Areca will recite the opening prayer followed by the Town Bell Master Jack Panosh ringing the United Methodist Church bell 11 times in remembrance of the Armistice which ended World War I at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918.
Speaking on behalf of Mayor Andy Skibitsky will be Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan. Bill Kessinger, the Post Commander, will also have some remarks. Peter Hogaboom, who will serve as the Master of Ceremonies, will encourage attendees to continue their efforts in the Support Our Troops "WE Care" shipments.
The packages, which include personal care items, snacks and food items, are shipped to service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. The American Legion also accepts cash donations to put toward the purchase of goods to be shipped.
"We've sent more than 500 cases since November of 2006," Hogaboom said.
Hogaboom, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1972, noted that this is the first Veterans Day without a living World War I veteran since the February passing of Frank Buckles. Buckles, who died at the age of 110, served as an ambulance driver during World War I and was a Prisoner of War in the Philippines for 39 months during World War II.
Hogaboom, who had the opportunity to meet Buckles, called him "a delightful gentleman who didn't brag about anything."
Following the ceremony, everyone is invited back to Post Three for refreshments.
Also at 11 a.m., the Rake and Hoe Garden Club of Westfield will host a dedication of Blue Star Memorial Marker at Shadowlawn Park. Started in 1944 as a way to honor service men and women, the program began with the planting of 8,000 Dogwood trees by the New Jersey Council of Garden Clubs as a living memorial to veterans of World War II.
Gayle Lechner, president of the Rake and Hoe Garden Club, said the National Chair of the Blue Star Memorial Marker will attend the dedication as well as Assemblyman Jon Bramnick and Councilman Jim Foerst. Veterans from World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars will also be in attendance.
"We're very proud of this," said Lechner. "It's going to be very touching. Two of the veterans are husbands of our members."
Lechner also said she was grateful to the town for cleaning the streets so those attending the service will be able to park.
At 2 p.m. Hogaboom said he and Kessinger will visit with the dozen veterans who reside at Sunrise Assisted Living.
Schools paid tribute to the men and women who have served our country early this year as schools are closed on Veterans Day because of the New Jersey Education Association Convention.
Edison Intermediate School held an assembly on Friday, Nov. 4 in the gymnasium, which was decorated with posters made by students in honor of veterans. Retired teacher, John D’Andrea, a veteran of the Korean War, was the guest of honor. His speech emphasized the importance of making good citizenship and patriotism integral parts of everyone’s daily life.
At Roosevelt Intermediate School, Veteran’s Day was observed on Thursday, Nov. 9. The guest speaker and recipient of RIS’s “Heroes Among Us” award was veteran Robert Maver, a social studies teacher at EIS. He spoke about participating in peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia, including the elimination of mine fields and instructing Bosnian school children on how to avoid hidden potential explosive devices.
“Teamwork is what being a soldier is all about,” he said.
The bands and choruses at both schools provided patriotic music while teachers and administrators praised those who have served and are currently serving our country.
For more on veterans in our area, visit Remembering Westfield's Veterans.