MONTVILLE, NJ – Montville VFW Post 5481 commemorated Memorial Day not on Monday, but on Wednesday, May 30, the traditional date until 1968. The post feels it is very important to hold the ceremony on the traditional date in order to maintain the meaning of the day, rather than create a convenient day for merchants, new Post Commander Andrew Vyniski said. The post has even written a letter to President Trump asking him to move the “holiday” back to its former date. They received a reply which stated he supported the idea.
Senior Vice Commander Frank Warholic opened the commemoration ceremony by stating, “Thank God for the men and women in our armed services. They answered the call without wondering what they would receive in return. We owe a debt to those who served and did not return, and those who continue to serve, so that we may continue to enjoy the freedoms of this land. Today we honor our veterans, past and present. May your hearts be filled with gratitude.”
Vyniski, who was in the U.S. Navy, addressed the assembly, stating, “I love this country. When I hear the National Anthem, chills go up my spine, and I stand [up] for it – I don’t kneel or sit. These people who make a million dollars and then they get fined $50,000? What is that? Suspend them for a game or two. But you can’t do that, because the NFL is a money maker and it all comes down to money.
“Memorial Day should be on the 30th. They moved it to the last Monday so merchants could have an extra day off for people to shop and gain more money. If it weren’t for the veterans and those who gave their lives for this country, they wouldn’t have a Memorial Day or an extra day of shopping.
“This country is a great country and everybody is trying to get in, but there has to be rules. We can’t feed everybody. These other countries that we bombed back into the stone age should step up and start help paying for these third world countries to improve their industries and make it an easier way of living for these people.
“Right now we’re in a conflict – they call it a conflict but I call it a war – on terrorism. The worst thing about that is, you’re fighting an ideal, not a nation, like during the second world war, when we knew who our enemy was. Nowadays, the kid walking down the street could turn around and shoot you in the back or blow up an IED in the street and kill a lot of people.
“There’s one thing that gets me. You see the American flag flying at people’s home and then they fly the Giants flag below it. The only flag you can fly below the American flag is the POW/MIA flag – by an act of Congress.
“When I was in the service, I was very proud for what I did. And people tell me, ‘thank you for your service.’ My reply is, it was my duty and my honor to serve my country. On Memorial Day, when you see people with little flags, a black staff means a grave marker flag, blue means generic, and unpainted, it means they wanted to save money. And most of the flags are made in Japan. One of the baseball hats I got said ‘Made in Vietnam.’ Thirty years ago we were fighting them. Now we’re buying hats from them.
“I’m very proud that we live in the United States. God bless the United States and God bless all you veterans who made it through,” he concluded.
Warholic pointed out that he and members of the post and their wives had been visiting veterans at the Lyons Veterans Administration Hospital for 22 years – many in wheelchairs – and when the National Anthem played, these veterans struggled, but they got up if able, to salute the flag.
Assemblyman Jay Webber spoke at the event, telling the assembly, “I’m not sure I’m the right person to be speaking at such a wonderful ceremony, because I’m the beneficiary of your heroism and service. I am filled with gratitude. We live in a busy time and Memorial Day is an important opportunity to come together and remember why it is what we do every day. I wish we didn’t have to have commemorations like this, that we didn’t have to have martyrs who purchased our freedom with their blood, but we live in a fallen world, and as long as we live in a fallen world, there’s going to be war, and we need heroes who will step up and fight for the right.
“I’m filled with humility and pride. Humility because over a million Americans, from the beginning, have sacrificed so we can be free. I also feel pride because we live in a country that is worth sacrificing for. These commemorations are critically important. They bind us together as a community. We don’t celebrate Memorial Day – we observe it.”
Mayor Richard Conklin also addressed the assembly, stating, “This group of Montville and neighboring residents has gone above and beyond by taking time out to be here this morning to reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day. That’s another reason Montville Township is so special. Memorial Day comes once a year, but we need to remember and support our military, our veterans, and all volunteers and first responders each and every day throughout the year.”
Three wreaths were placed at the memorial set up for the day near the tank, along with folded flags: one for Montville Township residents who have perished in conflicts, one for those who have died in all of our nation’s wars, especially the war on terror, and those for the deceased members of Post 5481 and those commemorated on the bricks on the memorial wall surrounding the tank, Warholic said. This was followed by a gun salute and the singing of God Bless America by the assembly.
VFW Post 5481 has room on the memorial wall if Montville Township residents have a loved one, living or deceased, who served in any branch of the military, whom they would like recognized with an inscribed brick for the wall. A 4”x8” brick is $50. Contact Tom Mazzaccaro at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
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