BERNARDS TWP., NJ - For the ninth Veterans Day in a row, American flags are standing in formation on the lawn of the Bernards Township municipal complex, visible off South Finley Avenue.
"It's always an amazing sight," said State Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, (R-district 21) at the official dedication of the display held about a week later. The flags went up on Nov. 1, and will remain at town hall at 1 Collyer Lane through Nov. 17.
The display of more than 400 American flags is dedicated to veterans, and a fundraiser for Community Hope's veterans programs.
The first year the Field of Honor went up was 2011, and the township parks & recreation department began organizing the event in 2014, said Jennifer Gander, parks & recreation director.
The flags are now "sponsored" with a $30 donation for the giver's veteran(s) of choice, and reused in future years. Originally, donors purchased flags and took them home after the event.
There are over 200 large flags on the lawn at town hall and along the rock wall on the property, Gander said. There are another 200 small flags that line the driveway, she said.
"Since we reuse the flags for the display each year, 100% of the donation to sponsor is given directly to Community Hope," Gander said.
Fred Buehler of Bernardsville, commander of VFW Post 7858 in the Somerset Hills, also presented the Community Hope organization with a $1,000 check from the organization's own fundraiser.
Donations benefit Community Hope's “Hope for Veterans” programs at the Lyons Veterans Administration campus off Valley Road in Basking Ridge. The programs and housing at the VA provide a safe haven, care and training for 106 homeless and disabled veterans every day.
One of those in attendance on Sunday was Capt. Thomas Olivo, who served as a pilot in the Marines in Viet Nam. Olivo, who grew up in town, said he used to mow the lawn at the municipal complex when the estate still served as the summer home of John Jacob Aster.