MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ - The annual Mountainside Memorial Day Parade and ceremonies were once again proudly held on the grounds of the Veterans Memorial Plaza on Monday, May 27, with hundreds of townspeople in attendance.
Mayor Mirabelli, VFW Post 10136 Commander Tim McLaughlin, Veteran Bob Lenihan of Mountainside and Father Richard of Our Lady of Lourdes presided, sharing stories of honor and sacrifice from across the generations. Eugene Bland, a recipient of the Korean Service Medal served as Grand Marshal of the parade that followed about an hour later. Songstress Sophia Vega, a middle school student whose father is scheduled to be deployed overseas on Tuesday, sang a touching rendition of God Bless America.
Directly following the ceremony, the parade began with local troops of boy and girl scouts leading the honorees and dignitaries riding in a fleet of exotic cars. "Mountainside’s Finest” emergency vehicles trailed the pedestrian marchers, proceeding along the Bridle Path to the end of Wood Valley Road, lined with American flags to Central Avenue. On the grounds of Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church, a carefree afternoon picnic was waiting, courtesy of the generous support of local businesses, under glorious skies and with much gratitude to those no longer with us, who made it possible.
Commander McLaughlin also noted the passing of Ms. Claire Butler, at age 101 last June. The former Mountainside resident was a member of the Women’s Army Axillary Corps. in WWII who never failed to attend the annual ceremony, where Mr. McLaughlin remarked, “she was always dressed in full uniform—complete with high heels.”
Colonel McLaughlin noted that Ms. Butler had a colorful life indeed and held many professions, including Realtor, a professional roller skater and ice skater, and even appeared in Life Magazine in 1940. VFW Post 10136 formally thanked the family of Ms. Butler for her service and dedication by presenting an inscribed brick paver to Ms. Butler’s surviving son, who assisted with the insertion into the pavement of the Memorial Plaza. (Note that the purchase of personalized brick pavers help fund the perpetual care of the Veteran’s Plaza and can be ordered at any time. Please log on to www.polarengraving.com/VFW10136).
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”
George S. Patton