MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ - Congressman Leonard Lance (R-7th) spoke Wednesday morning, Nov. 11, at Deerfield School at its Veterans Day celebration.
Members of VFW Post 10136 Mountainside Memorial filled several rows of seats -- at least two were veterans of World War II, Bill Tomko, a US Navy vet and Norm Hobbib an Army vet. Others were veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars.
The ceremony took place in the field outside Deerfield School. Students, school and local government officials and members of the Police, Fire and Emergency Services, as well as parents and members of the public, attended the service under cloudy skies.
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The school orchestra played the "Star Spangled Banner," Boy Scouts posted the colors, everyone took part in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and then listened to both Congressman Lance and VFW Post Commander Timothy S. McLaughlin speak.
Congressman Lance commented on the weather and then compared it to the weather soldiers experienced in: 1917 and 1918 in the muddy trenches France, in the winter of 1941 in Belgium at the Battle of the Bulge; in November and December 1950 in the cold and snow at Chosin Reservoir in Korea; in the heat of Vietnam in 1967 and 1968 and "more recently in the heat of the desert."
This is the one day a year that has been set aside to "thank our veterans," he said. Originally called Armistice Day, because it marked the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month," the date World War I ended at 11 a.m., Nov. 11, 1918. The other name of the war is "The War to End All Wars, but that didn't happen," he said.
"The hope is always that the world can move forward in peace," he said, concluding "May God continue to bless the United States of America."
Post Commander McLaughlin thanked the district and school officials "for this display of support." He read a letter from the headquarters of the VFW which focused on the "debt owed to our nation's defenders."
There are 22 million living veterans today and many continue to need help.
Three students who placed in the VFW Patriot's Pen contest read their entries.
The Middle School chorus sang "The Rose," to conclude the ceremony. Everyone, especially the veterans, were invited in to the school for hot coffee, after which the VFW presented the winners and runners-up with their awards from the Patriot's Pen contest.
At 11:30 a.m., the VFW held a service at the Veterans Memorial between the library and fire house, which was followed by a luncheon for veterans at the Hetfield House and a brick dedication.