Proud To Serve

“Lady Liberty” Mary Buckshaw Carries Torch in Hillsborough Parade

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99-year-old Mary Buckshaw raised her torch in honor of Hillsborough's veterans and active military during Saturday's Memorial Day Parade. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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Members of the Hillsborough Rockettes and Rockets seniors' dance club were decked out in red, white and blue. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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The Central New Jersey Motor Pool drove their restored Army vehicles in the Hillsborough Memorial Day Parade. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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Hillsborough's fire companies were well represented in Saturday's parade. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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Hillsborough Mayor Carl Suraci, far right, and Committeeman Frank DelCore express their appreciation to members of Cub Scout Pack 189 as they march past the reviewing stand. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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Gigi's Playhouse, an achievement center in Hillsborough for individuals with Down syndrome, had a huge contingent in the parade. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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The Hillsborough High School Marching Band prepares to perform the National Anthem prior to ceremonies at the Garden of Honor. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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Vietnam veteran Ron Newsom was Grand Marshal of the Hillsborough Memorial Day Parade. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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From left: Somerset County Freeholder Director Peter Palmer; Committeeman Greg Burchette; Grand Marshal Ron Newsom; Mayor Carl Suraci; Deputy Mayor Gloria McCauley and Committeeman Frank DelCore. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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A bouquet of roses was placed at the POW/MIA memorial in the Garden of Honor. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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Members of The Military Order of the Purple Heart Somerset County Chapter 27 participated in Saturday's Memorial Day Parade. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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Mayor Carl Suraci salutes the township's veterans and active military personnel during Saturday's Memorial Day Parade in Hillsborough. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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A Hillsborough Police Honor Guard fires off a volley in honor of America's war dead at the Garden of Honor. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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The American Flag flies at half-staff at the Garden of Honor; representatives of several township organizations honored Hillsborough's veterans with red, white and blue wreaths. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The township’s annual Memorial Day Parade had all the pre-requisite elements of a Norman Rockwell canvas - proud military veterans snapping to salute; ragtag groups of Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, moms and dads; a high school marching band; long lines of fire trucks and firemen, classic cars and restored Army vehicles, politicians, police, civic organizations and Lady Liberty riding on the back of a pick-up truck.

Rockwell, an acclaimed American artist adept at capturing small-town simplicity, innocence, patriotism and that which made America great built his legacy on freezing those “feel good” nuggets in each of his paintings. His works graced the covers of America’s top general circulation magazines in the mid-20th century.

Crowds lined the sidewalks, sitting in lawn chairs or on spread-out blankets, waving American flags as the line of march headed towards the Garden of Honor at the Peter J. Biondi municipal complex on South Branch Road for ceremonies honoring America’s veterans.

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The hands-down crowd favorite was “almost centenarian” Mary Buckshaw, who paraded with her fellow members of the Rockettes and Rockets senior citizen dance club, riding in the back of a truck dressed as Lady Liberty.

A Flagtown resident, she will celebrate her 100th birthday on July 23.

Mayor Carl Suraci presided over the ceremonies.

“We cannot do enough to recognize our veterans,” Suraci said. “Thank you for answering the call to duty and thank you for your service.”

Suraci also recognized those currently serving in the military and asked everyone to observe a Moment of Silence at 3 p.m. on Monday, Memorial Day in honor of those who have and are serving the USA in the military.

Parade Grand Marshal was Ron Newsom, who served in Vietnam as an Air Force sergeant.

 “As a Vietnam vet, when I came home from the battlefields there were no ticker tape parades or big parties,” Newsome said. “We didn’t talk about our experiences.

“But through the years, America has recognized our contribution to our precious freedom,” Newsome added, invoking the lyrics of Lee Greenwood’s 1994 song - “I’m proud to be an American for I know that I am free.”

Newsom and his wife Rose have lived in Hillsborough for 25 years and have three children and six grandchildren.

The parade was led by military veterans who are township residents and the Hillsborough High School Marching Band. The parade began at the corner of Auten and Triangle Roads at 10:30 am. and proceeded from Auten Road onto New Amwell Road then onto Beekman Lane, concluding at the Garden of Honor.

Service veterans living in Hillsborough were invited to participate in the 12th annual Salute to Veterans Breakfast prior to the parade at the municipal building.

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