NEWTON, NJ - “I just love parades, they’re so American, so patriotic and wonderful. They’re very uplifting,” said spectator Lois Greiner of Hackettstown.
The Newton Memorial Day Parade on Spring Street lasted a half an hour, and was followed by a memorial remembrance service at Memory Park. All age groups, and some furry family members as well, could be found proudly sporting red, white and blue, waving flags and wearing poppies during the event.
“I’m just proud and happy to be an American and grateful for the freedoms we have,” said Joe Krieg, who had two sons in the Boy Scouts who were handing out flags to fellow parade attendees.
The Newton Memorial Day Parade featured the following: Town Crier Bill Joseph, Newton Police Lt. Robert Osborn, Newton High School Color Guard and Band, Newton Boy Scout Troop 85, Newton VFW Post 5360 and Ladies Auxiliary, Newton American Legion Post 86, Grand Marshall’s Gerry Feldman, Don Carlson and Jordan Westra, Poppy Queen Ashley Iliff, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, Civil Air Patrol, Military Vehicles, Newton Mayor Sandra Diglio, 2012 Queen of the Fair and Contestants, Girl Scouts, Brownies, Daisy’s, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, 4H Lego Club, Christ Community Church, Northwest Christian School, Wanderer’s Car Club, Prime Time Seniors, Sussex County Sheriff’s Office, American Red Cross of Sussex County, Town of Newton Fire Department, Fredon Township Fire Department, Andover Boro Fire Department and the Newton First Aid Squad.
The remembrance service at Memory Park began at 11 a.m. where Master of Ceremonies Mark Hontz read a Memorial Day speech of President Obama’s followed by a Welcome Speech by Jack Tripp, Commander, Newton American Legion Post 86.
“Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died serving our country. Today we come to honor the memory of those who offered light and service for God and country. They are now part of that great spirit army whose footfalls cause no sound. Because of them our lives are free. Because of them our nation lives. Because of them the world is blessed,” said Tripp, who also delivered a poem he wrote entitled “Memorial Day.”
He ended his speech with, “Remember this to be true: all gave some, some gave all.”
The Newton High School Band played the National Anthem before Reverend Tom Litteer recited an invocation. General Logan’s Order of the Day was read by three Kittatinny Regional High School Students followed by readings of the Gettysburg Address by Eagle Scout Michael Bell and the Recitation Flanders Field by Poppy Queen and Miss Newton Ashley Iliff.
"Although I am not a veteran, I am the son of a veteran. My father proudly served in World War II along with his four brothers. My childhood memories of Memorial Day are of a somber morning where my father would prepare for marching in the parade, no doubt reflecting on the comrades who endured the battles of war alongside him,” said Sussex County Clerk Jeff Parrott who gave the Memorial Day Address. “I watched from the curb as my father, my hero and a veteran marched in his uniform; neither one of us could be more proud when he marched.”
Parrott said that he has had the pleasure of meeting over 1,600 veterans during his work at the Sussex County Clerk’s Office while issuing out Veteran ID cards. He said that he makes an effort to speak to each one, to listen to their stories and thank them for their service; he shared several touching stories from some of the veterans he had spoken to.
The Newton VFW Post #5360 and Ladies Auxiliary completed the ceremony with a somber Memorial Service, the ceremony officially ending with Taps played by Patrick Lasslett.
There were three Grand Marshall’s this Memorial Day: World War II Veteran Gerry Feldman, who eventually during his service took a position where he became personally acquainted with General Patton; Vietnam War Veteran Don Carlson, a purple heart recipient who served for 30 years in the Army and National Guard; and Iraq and Afghanistan War Veteran Jordan Westra, a Marine who did two combat deployments and received a purple heart for injuries received after his vehicle was hit by a 240-pound Improvised Explosive Device.
After the ceremony, many of the supporters in the audience made a point to shake hands with the veterans in attendance, showing them, in a small way, how much their service and sacrifice was and is appreciated.
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