HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - It was a warm sunny fall morning for the annual Veterans Day remembrance ceremony held Monday, November 11 at 11 am, the anniversary of Armistice Day, the ceasing of hostilities that ended World War I, also known as the Great War, in 1918.
Members of American Legion Post 106, VFW Post 4591, the Mayor and Council, and residents observed the ceremony at Veterans Park, on the corner of Terrace and Passaic Avenues. Two wreaths from the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary stood alongside the timeline panel celebrating the 100 years of the American Legion.
Patrick McCarthy, Judge Advocate for the VFW, welcomed the guests. He noted that "fewer than 10% of people can claim the title of veteran. Far less than one percent of the population is defending us." He encouraged people to hire a veteran, visit a VA hospital or donate to a veterans program.
"Our debt to those who made the ultimate sacrifice can never be repaid, but our gratitude and respect must last forever," he said. "Today's wars are different than the past. Our enemies today are fighting for hearts and minds. Their tactics are terror, and their theater of operation is worldwide. Soldiers of today who will be your veterans of tomorrow have the same mission to protect America."
VFW member Fritz Rethage read from the original program from Memorial Day 1919, providing history of the monument and park as 2019 was the 100th anniversary of Veterans Park. The efforts to build the park were led by then Mayor Webb and Councilman Field Sr. He explained the actual monument had been "lost between the quarries of New York, which was found near Mount Vernon, NY." It was brought to the borough and installed overnight in time for the Memorial Day ceremony in 1919. He noted that Hasbrouck Heights "was one of first towns in the state of NJ, if not the first, to erect and dedicate a permanent monument to the heroes of World War I."
The four-sided monument is a tribute to Hasbrouck Heights soldiers who perished during World War I, World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War. In addition, there on there are names placed along the memorial walkway. On the one side of the monument is a bronze tablet, with a figure that represents Liberty, holding a laurel, and American emblem partially showing behind her.
Mayor Jack DeLorenzo, an Army veteran, said "it's important that we recognize Veterans Day every year, we should recognize veterans ever day because they're the true heroes, especially those out there fighting today."
Chaplain John DeLorenzo gave the Opening Prayer and Benediction. Sal Altomare led those in attendance in the singing of "God Bless America." After the ceremony, veterans attended a luncheon at the Hasbrouck Heights VFW.
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