BELMAR, NJ — The warmth of the sun certainly was welcome by the some 100 persons gathered yesterday morning at Monument Row for Belmar’s annual Veterans Day services.

With the temperature hovering around 30 degrees, they came out to honor those who have served the country past and present — many in attendance being veterans themselves. Despite the cold, they filled the small park where three memorials stand between 12th and 13 Avenues along Main Street and its walkways were lined with small American flags.

After a bundled up contingent of the Belmar Elementary School Eagle Band opened the event in patriotic song, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Manasquan Post 1838 led the ceremony with the traditional placing of flowers and remarks by All-State Quartermaster Joseph Madia of Manasquan, a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War.

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In addition to honoring all Americans who have defended the country in war, Madia said that Veterans Day is also the time to recognize those who have served in peacetime, as well as civilians who worked in factories and defense plants during wartime.

VFW Post 1838 has a membership of nearly 300 veterans from the southern region of Monmouth County, including Belmar and Lake Como.

Today, there are some 22 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces, and 1 million members of the military have died fighting for this country since its founding.

Originating as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919 on the first anniversary of the end of World War I, today's observance didn’t become a national holiday until 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954.

Remembering the USS Juneau

On Monday, November 13, a USS Juneau Memorial Service will be held at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Belmar, located at Ninth Avenue and E Street.

The Belmar Council of Churches and Belmar-Wall Juneau Post 2620 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars is sponsoring the service, which will honor the four Belmar men who lost their lives when the USS Juneau was sunk at the Battle of Guadacanal in the South Pacific during World War II.

The men — Robert Sherman, Joseph McConnell, Alfred Ferruggiano and Francis Class Jr. — were among 687 men killed when the cruiser sank after it was struck by torpedoes fired from a Japanese submarine on November 13, 1942.

TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como is Belmar and Lake Como’s only free daily newspaper. Accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, it is a locally owned news organization serving the community. Sign up for our free daily e-News, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.