COLTS NECK, NJ: Memorial Day in Colts Neck was as Red White and Blue as it gets! The morning began with a patriotic bicycle decorating contest at the First Aid Building. Next, the parade began with participants on floats, covered wagons and on foot, marching from Colts Neck Town Hall north on Heyers Mill Road, passing Memorial Park, passing the grave site of Revolutionary Soldier Lt. Fields, and concluding at Fire Company #2 where the ceremony then commenced. Colts Neck Mayor JP Bartolomeo commented, "The great turnout we have today is an example of the tight community we are fortunate to have in Colts Neck. It's like one big family coming together to remember our men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. Every day in Colts Neck is a patriotic one but it is days like this that reconfirm our great dedication to our flag, everything it represents, and all of those lives who made our freedom possible."
Members of The Woman's Club of Colts Neck; Anita Dedalis, Virginia Amend, Diana Piotrowski and Michelle Battista arrived early in the morning to decorate the large covered wagon representing Colts Neck veterans. The veterans wagon was pulled by a tractor with Colts Neck Township Committeeman Tommy Orgo at the helm. The crowd was full of Colts Neck families, veterans, members of police, fire, first aid and active duty military members. It was a day where fallen heroes were remembered and active military individuals along with their families were personally thanked.
Colts Neck Chairman of Recreation Chris Adams welcomed everyone and began introductions. Father Jeff from Saint Mary's Parish gave the opening prayer, The Junior ROTC raised the American flag as the scouts gathered around the flag pole to lead The Pledge of Allegiance. Next The National Anthem was sung by Carolyn Bater. Lt. Colonel Sfayer was then introduced and commented, "Today is a special day because we are honoring one of our own who we lost last year, Corporal Dan Baldassare." A 2015 graduate of Colts Neck High School, Baldassare a United States Marine at age 20, was killed in a military plane crash in Mississippi in July of 2017. Sfayer introduced Baldassare's father who then passed out flags and plaques honoring organiazations and individuals with in his son Corporal Dan Baldassare's honor. The flags were given to the following: Jack Maniaci and the ROTC from Colts Neck High School, Colts Neck Township Committeeman and former Mayor, Russ Macnow, Colts Neck Police, Fire and First Aid, the Colts Neck Recreational Department, Saint Mary's Parish, Colts Neck Reformed Church, Colts Neck Community Church and Perkins.
Colts Neck Mayor JP Bartolomeo spoke to the audience about the history of Memorial Day and the great respect for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Bartolomeo introduced Lt. Colonel John Smith who thanked all of the police, fire and EMS members and then expressed great gratitude and respect for those who gave their lives for our freedom.
Pastor Chris Durkin of Colts Neck Community Church introduced the wreath laying ceremony after giving his sentiments about Memorial Day and asking everyone holding flags to please wave them...Pastor Durkin commented, "We have the freedom to wave these flags because of those who have given up their lives for us..." After the wreath laying, the Colt Neck High School Marching Band performed the upbeat National Emblem March. The crowd was energized and prepared to begin the traditional Memorial Day picnic. Another successful Americana event in Colts Neck Style!
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