WESTFIELD, NJ—A crowd gathered at Westfield’s Veteran’s Memorial at noon on November 11 for a Veterans Day ceremony hosted by Martin Wallberg Post Three of the American Legion.
As acting mayor, Councilwoman Jo Ann Neylan told TAP how honored she was to be there that day. Neylan said that she has a deep respect for those who served and those who are still serving, “especially during these difficult times, with natural disasters, very difficult economic times and the world in turmoil—that lack of confidence that we’re safe.”
Among the speakers at the ceremony was LTC Bill Morris, Squadron Commander, 1-102 Cavalry Squadron of the New Jersey Army National Guard, which is stationed in Westfield.
“Veterans, we experience a love of our country in a way that other people don’t,” Morris told the crowd. Especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, he said, “One thing that I’m most grateful for is the ability to contribute.”
Morris added, “I’m very glad to be a part of the Westfield community and a part of Union County.”
Retired Colonel Dennis Dougherty thanked all veterans and added a special thanks to first responders. “Many of them are veterans,” he said.
Dougherty also noted that veterans often need help finding jobs.
Neylan thanked veterans for being prepared to give their all for the cause of lasting peace, security and freedom and echoed Dougherty’s statement others should help them in return. “Our country must be honored to serve them,” she said.
Peter Hogaboom of Westfield’s American Legion Post Three said that during the recent hard economic times, fewer people have been donating items and money to help them send “we care” boxes to troops from New Jersey.
“Our troops love receiving goods from home,” said Hogaboom.
They are collecting snack foods and packaged goods (such as granola bars, hard candy, gum, cookies, beef jerkey, chips, iced tea and playing cards) and travel-sized toiletries, as well as money to be used for shipping costs. Checks should be made out to American Legion/Support Our Troops and sent to American Legion Post #3, 1003 North Avenue West, Westfield, NJ, 07090.
Goods can be dropped off at American Legion Post #3 after 2 p.m. or at RE/MAX Properties Unltd., 200 North Avenue and Central Avenue in Westfield.
They are also recruiting new members to help, Hogaboom said.
The ceremony included tolling of the bell, prayers, placing wreaths at the memorial, singing of “God Bless America” and the playing of “Taps.”