HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - Memorial Day 2020 looks different because of the ongoing health crisis. No parade. No public gathering to honor and pay respect to those who gave their lives in support of the United States.
Because there is no public forum this year, TAPinto is publishing the messages from Hasbrouck Heights veterans. Below are messages from Patrick McCarthy, Commander, American Legion Post 106; Matthew Villegas, Commander, Hasbrouck Heights VFW Post 4591, and Hasbrouck Heights Mayor Jack DeLorenzo.
Matthew Villegas, Commander, Hasbrouck Heights VFW Post 4591
As we gather to observe this Memorial Day, we carry on the tradition dating back to 1866. Embracing the feeling of patriotism and pride while honoring the best and the most noble of us all. Freedom isn’t free. It has been paid for with the lives of sons and daughters, husbands and wives, sisters, brothers, and our friends. The debt is one that can never truly be repaid. But we can start by showing the youth of tomorrow understand the true cost of freedom.
With our nation’s current crisis, we’re encouraging American to pause and reflect the lives and service of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and the families they left behind. There is no better way to honor those who gave all meant to remember the sacrifice to our nation.
We thank you. And remember the lost soldiers, sailors and Marines.
Patrick McCarthy, Commander, James B. Scarr, American Legion Post 106
Every crisis has new heroes. During the 9/11 attacks, they were the first responders running into burning and crumbling buildings as others ran out. Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the most visible heroes are the health care professionals, who are saving others and risking their own lives while doing so.
These heroes have much in common with the people that we honor today – America’s fallen veterans. They are men and women who have sacrificed their own lives so others could live. They are both the elite and the ordinary. They are elite in the sense of character. Giving your life so others could live is the ultimate definition of selfless.
They are ordinary in the fact that they represent the diverse fabric of our country. They are rich and poor, black and white, male and female. They come from every ethnicity and background. In short, they looked like anyone of us.
As we celebrate the selfless and untiring performances of the healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, it brings to mind the military medics, doctors and nurses who sacrificed their lives while treating others on the battlefield.
The military also has heroes in every occupational field. Truck drivers, cooks and administrative clerks have all paid the ultimate price. At sea, on land or in the air – military service requires great risk. Approximately one million men and women of the U.S. military have lost their lives in defense of our nation since the founding of this great Republic.
Not all have died from enemy fire. Some have died from disasters that have too often festered around war zones. Often times, deaths from disease and accidents outnumbered casualties caused by enemy weapons. During the Spanish American War, 60 soldiers of the all-black 24th Infantry Regiment volunteered to serve as nurses. Thirty-six of them would later die of yellow fever or malaria.
A generation later, the flu would kill nearly 16,000 U.S. soldiers in France during World War I. Another 30,000 American service members died in stateside camps. These men and women could have isolated safely in their homes. But they knew they had an important job to do. A mission to accomplish. They were all on a mission to serve.
Even when the enemy is an invisible virus or a microscopic germ, the sacrifices made are just as meaningful. The U.S. military has already lost service members to COVID-19.
This Memorial Day as we continue to honor those who fell for us in battle, let’s also pause to remember those who have also sacrificed their lives while serving others.
May God bless them and may God bless you for remembering them here today.
Hasbrouck Heights Mayor Jack DeLorenzo
It is unfortunate that we will not be able to conduct our usual Memorial Day Parade and Ceremonies, especially in these times when we remember how precious our freedom is. I ask that you still take a moment to remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our country and freedom. Please also keep those who are currently serving our Country in your thoughts and prayers.
Have a safe Memorial Day Weekend and May God Bless America.