UNION, NJ - About 30 Union High School JROTC members visited Hollywood Cemetery on Wednesday to plant American flags at the graves of veterans in recognition of the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.
The group's first stop was at the grave of Army Specialist and Cadet Anthony P. Steitz. Steitz passed away on April 28 after a car accident on Route 78. Steitz was scheduled to command the Union High School JROTC program next year, his senior year. He had joined the New Jersey National Guard shortly before his death. He was given the rank of Army Specialist posthumously. Anthony's father, Gary, and sister, Emily, were present at the cemetery.
Commander Adnan Oudeh said, "we're all here to honor those who have served our country. This is the least we can do for them, especially Anthony."
Colonel Walter L. Alvarado said the cadets will plant over 2,000 flags throughout the afternoon. "It's sometimes difficult to determine if the grave belongs to a veteran," he said. "When necessary, the cadets will work to clear the gravestone to find out. It takes some time." Alvarado said Steitz was integral to the placing of the flags at the veteran's graves in previous years. He said the project continues to build upon the values the JROTC instills, including honor and service.