LIVINGSTON, NJ - In an era where Memorial Day has come to symbolize shopping sales and the start of beach season, a substantial crowd of all ages lined the almost 1.5 mile stretch of Livingston Avenue in Livingston, New Jersey, on Monday to show their appreciation to those who have served our country.
At the memorial ceremony prior to the parade Keynote Speaker Col. Peter Berkowsky gave a rousing speech in which he saluted his fellow Americans. He addressed the many young people in attendance, pointing out in his day almost every male high school senior was expected to serve two years in the military. In this post-draft period his advice on how to serve our country was to do three simple things: 1) Vote. "We are blessed to live in a country to have this freedom," he noted. 2) Pay your taxes. 3) When called on, do jury duty. He concluded, "All require effort, but that is what service to our country is all about."
This year's Grand Marshall was Steven Hoffman, a 25-year veteran of the armed forces who served during Vietnam. His granddaughter, 11-year-old Anna Burchman, was this year's Miss Buddy Poppy.
Two Elephants from the Cole Bros. Circus led the parade down Livingston Avenue from the Memorial Oval to Congressional Parkway. Members of the armed forces, Livingston's police and fire departments, the first-aid squad, numerous marching bands and various community groups followed them.