LAKE COMO, NJ — Outside Lake Como Borough Hall, community members gathered under drizzly skies to remember the fallen heroes of the armed forces during the borough’s observance of Memorial Day.

And according to Mayor Brian Wilton, the weather on the morning of May 29 reflected the true meaning of the day — to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. “It’s fitting that it is a solemn, gray morning, so we can properly remember them and give them the respect they deserve.”

Following the traditional service that included placing remembrance wreaths at the base of the flagpole that rises in front of Borough Hall, the event was moved inside for a special recognition of members of the “Lake Como family” who have served in the military — past and present.

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“We are here to recognize those who have given of themselves so that we are free,” said former Belmar Mayor Michael Ryan, who served in the U.S. Army for two years. In the past several years, he has spearheaded an effort to identify veterans living in Lake Como — a number that stands at 32 to date.

And during today’s ceremony, 10 veterans and the widow of another were in attendance to receive a special proclamation from Wilton, who also shared the poem, “It is the Soldier,” by U.S. Army veteran Charles Michael Province:

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

As part of its ongoing effort to compile a Veterans Registry of Lake Como residents, the borough is asking that if you are a veteran — or if you know of a veteran in your neighborhood — please contact Borough Clerk/Administrator Louise Mekosh at lmekosh@boro.lake-como.nj.us.

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