MONTVILLE, NJ – VFW Post 5481 members joined 13 Lazar eighth graders to ensure that the graves of Montville Township veterans are cared for.
The program, now in its eleventh year, brings the middle school students from the Honor Our Veterans advisory group together with the veterans to replace flags at veterans’ graves in three township cemeteries just before Memorial Day. An advisory group is a type of club that meets during school, and the students in this particular group are interviewed and chosen. The group is advised by teachers Richard Crescente and Michele Trautman.
On May 23, post members Art Graf and Joseph Cull met the students at the school, briefed them, and then the students exchanged the flags at the Pine Brook Cemetery on Hook Mountain Road and the Montville Reformed Church Cemetery on Church Lane.
Hayley Kirk said she wanted to join the advisory group because she wanted to honor veterans.
“Some of my grandparents are veterans,” Connor Westefeld said, “and I also wanted to do something that honored them.”
Prior to the students’ field trip, post member Chip Cutler replaced flags at the Pine Brook Jewish Cemetery.
“This is what our vets do at Post 5481 to remind those buried in Montville cemeteries that service to their country will always be remembered,” post member Tom Mazzaccaro told TAPinto Montville.
There are 315 veterans among the three cemeteries. The Whitehall Church Cemetery in Towaco is maintained by the Lincoln Park American Legion.
The students from Lazar are: Aiyan Ahmed, Nicholas Amoroso, Hayley Kirk, Gerald O'Donnell, Lucas Viscuso, Connor Westefeld, Nicholas Winrow-De La Garza, Jesse Youngstein, Semi Zaku, Steven Zampaglione, Christian Zampino, Shiyi Zhu, Justin Zurawlow.