MONTVILLE, NJ – Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (D-11) was in town on Sept. 22 to not only attend an informational meeting for high school students interested in being appointed to one of the nation’s military academies, but to recognize Montville Township’s Vietnam veterans with pins honoring those who served during the Vietnam war.

The meeting took place at Montville Township High School.

Montville Township VFW Post 5481 members Joe Coll, Chip Cutler, Dominick D'Andrea, Carl DeBacco, Jerry Goodman, Dick Gamsby, Ken Hanzl, Jeff Jones, Al Langen, Bob Pajewski and Dennis Purpura attended, and Sherrill asked each their branch of service, chatted with them, and pinned the commemorative pin on.

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The front of the pin has an eagle, a laurel wreath, stars and stripes on it, in a blue circle and says “Vietnam War veteran.” The back of the pin says, “A grateful nation thanks and honors you; USA Vietnam War Commemoration.” The eagle represents courage, honor, and dedicated service to our nation. The laurel wreath represents victory and integrity, the stripes represent the American flag, and the six stars represent the six allies who served, sacrificed, and fought alongside one another: Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and the United States. The blue of the circle matches the canton of the American flag, according to the Department of Defense.

Post members Tom Jones and Gerry Gemian, who are World War II veterans, were also in attendance, and Sherrill honored them as well.

“I wanted to tell everyone here how many veterans I’ve seen, who, once they’ve finished their service in the military continue to serve their communities,” Sherrill told the assembly. “That’s what I hope all of you have seen here today. Should you choose to start this adventure, join the armed forces and attend a service academy, you will be taught to serve your community –  whether it’s in the armed forces or in civilian service – for the rest of your lives. That’s what we’re going to depend on all of you to do, and that’s certainly what you’ve seen modeled in the front of the room here.

“I decided I wanted to go to the Naval Academy because my grandfather was a B-24 pilot in World War II in the Army Air Corps. I decided I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I wanted to do him one better by becoming a Naval aviator. It was one of the most exciting days of my life to take the oath to the Constitution of the United States for the first time at age 18. It has been an honor to serve my country in the military and now, again, in Congress.

“I’m blown away by how many have come here today to hear about serving in our great service academies. You will give up a lot to do so, but will be rewarded for that service,” Sherrill concluded.

Representatives from each academy then discussed their time at their school, and a representative from Sherrill’s office explained the process of being appointed to a military academy.

Three post members who could not attend were also given pins: Phil Gigante, Art Graf and Keith Orr.

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