MADISON, NJ - As the autumn breeze kept the Stars and Stripes waving above, Madison honored its veterans today in a ceremony thanking those who served in the United States' armed forces, from the Revolutionary War through Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bruce Bergmann, past commander of American Legion Post 43 of Madison and Florham Park, opened the ceremony at Condurso Park.
"What is a veteran?" he asked. "Veterans are those you see here assembled, our brave men and women in the armed forces, our homeland defense - police, fire and ambulance that have kept us safe since 2001. And they are also men and women who have upheld this country and raised good children. You want to see a veteran? Look to your left. Look to your right."
Members of Post 43's color guard, along with representatives from the police department, fire department and ambulance, lead the observance. Teresa Rushdan of Bethel A.M.E. Church gave the invocation.
Madison Mayor Mary-Anna Holden, Florham Park Mayor Scott Eveland and Florham Park Police Officer Patrick Montuore, representing fire, police and Homeland Security, all offered remarks during the ceremony.
"Our veterans should not come home to stand in the unemployment line after putting their lives on the line," Holden said. "The scars of war, physical and mental, are stripes enough to bear."