RANDOLPH, NJ- Randolph’s VFW Post 7333 on Carroll Road hosted their annual Veterans Day service for the community on Saturday Nov. 11, in front of almost 200 attendees.
“As I was driving here today I thought about how it's always appropriate and right to thank veterans for their service,” said Assemblyman Anthony Bucco Jr, who was the first speaker in the service. “But I also thought maybe we are approaching a point in our country where that is no longer enough. We need to think about respect for our veterans and respect for the flag that they fought for, and some died to protect.”
Bucco continued to discuss how great the First Amendment is, but reminded all that Americans would not have those freedoms if not for its Veterans.
“Saying thank you is appropriate, but we need to take it one step further and think about respect and honor,” said Bucco. “We need to spread that word to our children, our friends and our families.”
VFW Post Commander Scott Montanio introduced and welcomed all the attendees, especially Freeholder Kathy DeFillipo and Randolph Mayor Christine Carey, along with Town Council members Al Napoliello, Lance Tkacs, and township Manager Steven Mountain. Montanio then introduced Deputy Mayor Mark Forstenhausler, and invited him up to the podium to say a few words.
Forstenhausler discussed growing up surrounded by veterans, including five uncles who served in WWII, a father in law in the Korean War, and his own father serving 42 years in the National Guard.
Many of his teachers, volunteer firefighters he worked with, and all of his Boy Scout leaders were also veterans, and he mentioned watching some older scouts depart for Vietnam. Forstenhausler stated, “They all had a positive impact on my life.”
Forstenhausler then discussed how many were not properly recognized, but also were not seeking any special recognition, as they did their duty and went on with their lives.
“They gave up the best years of their youth to serve our country and each and every one of them has helped to make our nation free and strong,’ said Forstenhausler. “It is both humbling for me personally, and an honor for us collectively, to gather here today expressing our appreciation for their service.”
Forstenhausler concluded by stating, “Thankfully we have them, and those coming behind them, who see service to our country as more important than personal attention, gain, or fame.”
Montanio concluded the speakers. “Today we salute all of our Veterans who served this great country of ours, as well as those currently serving,” said Montanio. “We recognize all those who have placed country above self. Every generation of Americans owes a debt of gratitude to these patriots from past and present.”
A gun salute and the playing of Taps closed the service.