PATERSON, NJ- Paterson is a city of traditions, something evidenced again on Monday as a crowd of proud veterans and grateful guests gathered in the lobby of the Paterson Post Office to mark Memorial Day.

By the estimates of several in attendance the service has taken place for over 70 years, and according to John Picarelli who worked for the Postal Service for 30 years, and is a veteran of the Korean War, has been a staple of his career, which dates back to when stamps were only five cents.

The service took place in the shadow of a large plaque that includes the names of over 250 individuals who both worked for the Paterson Post Office and served the nation in the armed forces. Included on the plaque, in addition to Picarelli, are Jose Sanjurlo and William Alvarado.

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Sanjurlo served in the United States Marines from 1974-1978, and, currently a senior custodian in the building, has worked for the USPS for 29 years, while Alvarado, currently the lead custodian, is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. 

Alvarado served on board the USS America during the war waged on Iraq following that nation’s invasion of Kuwait. 

Several elected officials attended the event, including Congressman Bill Pascrell, Mayor-Elect Andre Sayegh, and Councilman Luis Velez.

Councilwoman Maritza Davila also was among those gathered and spoke of her stepfather’s service during the Korean War while Councilman Michael Jackson praised those in attendance offering that it wasn’t the “quantity of the people gathered” but rather the “quality” and their willingness to support veterans.

Freeholder Assad Akhter led a contingent of Passaic County Freeholders that also included John Bartlett and T.J. Best and commented that for him, being born in the United States meant that “earning freedom was easy.” It is, however, “the maintenance of freedom that requires the lives of that gave their lives serving.”

“We’ll be back here on Veteran’s Day, like we are every year,” Postmaster Michael A Rodgers, himself a veteran, assured TAPinto Paterson, pointing to the USPS’ continued commitment to recognize the service of veterans.