RANDOLPH, NJ- On the morning of Monday May 28, close to 250 people filled the front parking lot of the Randolph VFW Post 7333 building on Canfield Ave in honor of Memorial Day.
After VFW Post Commander Scott Montanio led all in attendance in the the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Mark Forstenhausler spoke.
“Thank you commander Montanio, and thank you to all the members of VFW post 733 for giving me the opportunity to speak on this most solemn occasion,” said Forstenhausler. “I would also like to thank the rest of you for taking time to attend this ceremony today. You realize that this weekend is not about sales and barbecues, but about remembering those who gave their lives for our country.”
Forstenhausler continued to talk about his fathers’ 42 years in the National Guard, as well as the bonds and friendships his dad developed with many of those whom he served with over that time.
"They say there is no greater love than to lay down ones life for a friend," said Forstenhausler. "Everyone that we remember today lay down their life not only for our country, but also for their friends. Let us never forget their sacrifices.”
Montanio also addressed the crowd, sharing words of remembrance.
“Today we honor our fallen, but we also embrace the feeling of honor, patriotism, and pride,” said Montanio. “From the patriots who fired the first shots of the American Revolution, to the Armed Forces we have deployed around the world today, America has been blessed to have citizens who will serve, fight and sometimes die for this country.
Mayor Forstenhausler was joined at the service by Township Council members Christine Carey and Mike Guadagno, as well as Deputy Mayor Jim Loveys and Town Manager Stephen Mountain. Senator Anthony Bucco, who traditionally attends this service in Randolph each year, was traveling but sent a message which was read by Past Post Commander Jack Sassaman.
Montanio led the honorary laying of flowers in honor of the fallen, and concluded the service by reminding all of the sacrifices made by those this day honors.
“This Memorial Day, with heavy hearts we recall those lost, those who have selflessly laid down their life for freedom,” said Montanio. “They had names, they had families, they were brothers, sisters, moms, dads, and children. It is this ultimate sacrifice they made that has paid for the freedom we enjoy today.”
Members of all four Boy Scout troops in town, ( Troop 50, 53, 109 and 166 ) were in attendance, as well as some members of the Randolph Girl Scout Troops.
The ceremonious playing of “Taps”, and the gun salute punctuated the service.