ROXBURY, NJ - About 600 military veteran graves at the First Presbyterian Church and United Methodist Church joint cemetery in Succasunna received a wreath on this soggy Saturday morning as part of the annual Wreaths Across America remembrance ceremony.
Coordinated by the Ferro Monte Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the event included a ceremony with speeches by VFW #2833 Commander John Lehnert and Picatinny Arsenal Garrison Commander Lt Colonel Samuel W. Morgan III of the US Army.
“In the season of giving, we pay tribute to those who have given us the most precious gift of all: our freedom,” said Morgan.
Scout troops, church members, councilmen, VFW members and Roxbury Mayor Bob DeFillippo were among the volunteers who adorned veteran graves at the event, the sixth one for Roxbury. Before the ceremony, a dozen Girl Scouts - from Roxbury’s two Junior Cadet troops - trudged through about six inches of snow to mark the graves with orange flags so that the Wreaths Across America volunteers know where to go.
Created in 2006 at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, Wreaths Across America now sponsors more than 2,000 wreath laying ceremonies every December.
“Today we show a shining example of national unity across the U.S. as we remember the fallen and teach our children the value of freedom,” said Jockey Hollow Sons of the American Revolution President Roger Loomis.
This year, the ceremony also included veteran spotlights. Caye McLaughlin, VFW president, and Rebecca Martinsen, Ferro Monte Daughters of the American Revolution regent, shared the stories of one Revolutionary War and one Vietnam War service member buried in the cemetery. Both men, who died in action, were from Roxbury.
“The freedoms we enjoy every day do not come without a price,” Loomis said. “Laying here before us, and in cemeteries throughout this nation, are men and women who gave their lives so we can live without fear.”