MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Music from Jim Buchanan and Friends greeted attendees as they arrived at Maplewood Town Hall for the annual Veterans Day ceremony.
Maplewood Mayor Victor De Luca opened the ceremony by first asking the Honor Guard to present the colors, followed by Maplewood VFW Post 10120 marching in and posting the flags at the podium.
De Luca gave welcoming remarks, which was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Deputy Maplewood Mayor Nancy Adams. Next was the Invocation, delivered by the Rev. Durwin F. Johnson, who is the Assistant Minister, First Baptist Church of Vauxhall, the Maplewood Juvenile Conference Committee Chairperson, and a resident of Maplewood.
Kari Capone, a Maplewood resident, accompanied by Jim Buchanan and Friends, sang The National Anthem. This was followed by a musical interlude by Jim Buchanan and Friends, and a group sing-along, featuring old military songs.
De Luca addressed the crowd, and emphasized Veterans Day is a day for honoring all who have served in the military, and shared about the history of the day and the significance of the holiday occurring every year on Nov. 11. De Luca also pointed out to the audience that the annual ceremony honoring veterans in Maplewood was initiated during Fred Profeta’s term as Mayor.
De Luca also shared with the audience that currently there are about 300,000 vets who are homeless – some on the streets, some staying with friends. De Luca stated, "we owe them more."
De Luca then called upon Donna D'Amato, Treasurer of the Maplewood Committee for Servicemen and Servicewomen. This group was formed in 1942. She made a very special presentation to Maplewood of two American Flags, donated by former servicepeople Kiera Connerty and Lichroy Marquis. Both flags had flown in different theaters of war and the flag from Marquis was encased in wood from Iraq. This flag will be displayed at Maplewood Town Hall.
De Luca then invited Commander Frank Warzocha of Maplewood VFW Post 10120 to make a few remarks.
He pointed out the many different ways Post 10210 helps other veterans, both local and national organizations, and local community charities. Over the past year they have raised and donated $12,150. Their greatest need now is the next generation of foreign war veterans to join the organization.
Guests were invited to go around the room and tell their connection to the military, their own or a relatives, if they so desired.
Kari Capone then led the guests in singing “America the Beautiful."
The Benediction was given by Pastor Valencia B. Norman, resident of Maplewood and pastor of the First Presbyterian and Trinity Church of South Orange.
The Colors were then Posted by Maplewood VFW Post 10120 Honor Guard, and De Luca invited all to have lunch in the lobby.